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Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Friday, April 28, 2000

Care home‘s
are red flags

Question: A member of our family is scheduled to be placed in a care home. The care-giver told us we are not to visit on weekdays -- only on weekends -- and we need to call to say we are coming. Do care-givers make their own rules?

Answer: No, and the fact that you were told your visits would be restricted was an obvious red flag.

We are assuming you are referring to an adult residential care home, which is covered under Chapter 100 of the Hawaii Administrative Rules and monitored by the state Department of Health's Office of Health Assurance.

Such care-home providers can restrict visits if there is a physician's order or treatment plan calling for restrictions, for whatever reason, said Shirley Souza, a unit supervisor with the Office of Health Assurance's state licensing unit.

But the reasons have to be noted in the patient's record. Otherwise, "they normally can't" restrict visits, she said.

In Chapter 100, under residents' rights, "it says the care home is required to allow daily visiting hours. That's the right of the resident," Souza said.

If you or anyone else has concerns about a specific care home, call the Kapolei branch of the Office of Health Care Assurance, 692-7400. With a specific name, the case will be assigned to the nurse consultant who oversees that care home, Souza said.

Souza, who has held workshops on the subject at Kapiolani Community College, was asked what advice she has to give families contemplating putting a relative in a care home.

Above all, trust your gut feelings, she advised.

"If the care-home operator is very warm and invites you in, takes you on a tour and introduces you to other clients," that says something about the environment, Souza said. "You want to know if your family member would be comfortable with the other residents, right?"

So, an open and welcoming operator is a first clue.

"Of course, always ask to see the care home's policies," Souza added. If it's not something that your family is comfortable with, then steer away. "And ask a lot of questions. If they hem and haw and evade you," that's another sign to stay clear.

There is no workshop currently scheduled at KCC, Souza said. Call KCC or the Health Care Assurance office to find out if and when any future one will be held.


To all the angels who came to help us with our Ranger truck at Pearlridge Shopping Center on Tuesday afternoon, April 18. May you be blessed forever for your kind deed. -- The Wilcox family


At 7:45 a.m. Sunday, April 16, as I was walking my dog, I saw a group of teenagers gathered in front of Noelani School. They appeared to have just returned from a camping excursion and were waiting for people to pick them up. A couple of boys got into a VW car, made a U-turn on the street and, as they passed in front of the school, one of them threw a glass bottle. The shattered glass was strewn all over the street and almost hit one of the young ladies sitting on the side of the road. I hope their parents can be located and told about the incident. It's a shame something like this gives teenagers a bad reputation. -- No name

(We passed the license number you provided to the Honolulu Police Department to pass on to the registered owner of the vehicle.)

Need help with problems? Call Kokua Line at 525-8686,
fax 525-6711, or write to P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
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