In early July of 2013, I flew home to PA to visit my father who was in a local hospital. The month of June included 3 separate hospital stays for him. Arriving directly from the airport, I was walking down the hall towards his room when I was stopped by one of his nurses. She asked me what my discharge plan was for him because "he had to go."
To say I was speechless- temporarily, because if you know me well "speechless" is not a word that usually describes me - is an understatement. The nurse directed me to the office of a social worker who handed me two separate packets of papers filled with referrals (about 100) to rehab and elder care facilities in about a 25-mile radius. She said we needed to find something by tomorrow so the doctor could write the discharge order. Oh, and they weren't allowed to recommend any so I was on my own.
After visiting dad and going back to mom's I got to work. Fortunately, my background includes years in the resource and referral industry and about eight years in the elder care industry, so I wasn't completely clueless. Truth told it was still a bit overwhelming, plus emotional because this was personal.
Pulled up my big girl panties and got to work. The rest of the afternoon I researched facilities online, made calls to inquire about availability and insurance. Narrowed down the list by crossing out facilities based on distance or ratings or just negative impressions from others.
After identifying five potential facilities mom and I set off to visit them, unannounced, the next morning. Two we drove by and never even went in just based on how they looked from the outside, one was a less than pleasant experience right from the start, one was perfect but had a long waiting list, and then we got to the final place. The admissions director was very professional and cordial, the tour was great and when I asked to see their state book (violations) she readily produced it. After reading through it and grilling her for a while, we decided this place would be a good fit for dad.
The discharge papers were signed by the doctor that afternoon. By that evening dad was sent by ambulance to his new temporary residence, where he completed 8 weeks of rehab and then was sent home. Mom cared for him there until he made his transition in December of 2013.
For a few years prior to all of this, I had toyed with the idea of starting a company that helped people find resources for their loved ones. Easily, without having to go through hours and hours of research, but kept putting it off because there were other things demanding my attention.
After the experience with my dad that all changed. Within 6 weeks of returning home, Carefinderz was born. That is my Why! That is what continues to drive me to expand and enhance this site, to help others find the care they need for the ones they love, and to make it as user-friendly as possible.
Here's to hoping your own experiences are not as challenging but know that Carefinderz is a great place to start. We are here if you need us.