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A very close relative of mine lived at Frontida’s Willowgreen Home in Caledonia, WI, for several months. My initial impression when we walked into the facility was the unfriendliness of the staff. At first, the new owner and managers appeared caring and concerned but that quickly changed, and we observed that the day-to-day care of the residents was minimal. When my relative moved into this facility, there was a nurse present five days a week, but when the new owners arrived in October 2013, they eliminated one of the nurses, leaving a nurse there only two days a week. During visits, we noticed that the residents were not engaged in any meaningful type of activity or interaction during the day and would either sit in front of a TV in a small living room area or be asleep in their rooms. When we dined with my relative on several occasions, we observed some of the unappetizing meals that were served. Large glasses of water were provided with the meals, but the residents barely drank them. After eating, the residents would either return to their rooms for a nap or sit in front of the TV once again. On rare occasions, they would play Bingo in the dining room. No snacks were offered to the residents in between meals. All of the senior staff, some of whom had worked at the facility under the prior owner for 14 plus years, were fired, quit, or walked off the job and confided that they were unhappy with the new owners and their management. Even with the new staff, the turnover was constant. The senior staff’s replacements were young and inexperienced. Some of them seemed caring but were overwhelmed and just not qualified to handle all of the residents’ varied needs. There were three caregivers per shift, and they were required to cook, hand feed a number of the residents, wash dishes, do laundry, clean, administer medications, in addition to providing direct care for over 20 residents. During our visits, the house manager and assistant remained in their office and did not interact with the staff or residents. Their primary source of communication with the staff was through written logs. On weekends, there was no manager present in the facility. While my relative lived in this facility, on several occasions, no one called her doctor or notified the family when she required medical attention. It was always a family member that discovered something wasn’t quite right with her during a visit, and we had to contact her doctor ourselves. This situation would be especially difficult for families living outside of the area. On many occasions, the managers did not bother to return the family’s phone calls concerning our relative or follow through on their word. It was disconcerting and did not create trust or peace of mind. In addition, we witnessed that not everyone was treated in the same manner there. The management appeared to show favoritism towards certain staff members and residents. Many of the residents experienced falls and personal injuries at this facility. We noticed a resident with terrible bruises on her forehead, face, and arm as the result of a fall. My relative fell several times during her time at this facility and never had a history of falls prior to moving there. When the family learned of the falls, several different versions of the incident were always told. This facility is owned and operated by a growing corporation whose marketing tactics and outward perceptions can be deceiving. All of their promises are, of course, subject to change after your loved one settles in. The most important thing when searching for a facility is to look beneath the surface and focus on their record, the quality of care actually provided, and the sincerity and honesty of the management and staff. Based on our first-hand experience with this facility, I wholeheartedly do not recommend it.
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