The smallest state in the union might have "Heart," but they sure have the laziest county and state run agencies we have ever had the misfortune to experience. Rhode Island citizens deserve better!
1. The Rhode Island Health Department. You will be very lucky if your case ever sees the light of day. There is only one In-taker who files the complaints and only one investigator for the whole State, according to the Director of Programs for Hospitals. The In-taker will also tell you that the investigation is lengthy, but cannot confirm how lengthy. In other words, don't halt your travel plans for 2016! It might take that long for them to even start the investigation.
2. The Department of Elderly Affairs. If there ever was an agency whose employees were overpaid, this IS the department! According to local Activists and Elder law attorneys, this department also likes to bounce their weight around, over reach and use the word "investigation" to intimidate and keep family members away from their loved ones. They border on the criminal too by having outside agencies administer tests to deem the patient "Incompetent," then circumvent their rights, take away their family rights (regardless of POA), take over their care and place them in a locked Dementia unit away from everything they know and are familiar with -- all in the name of "Protection!"
3. The Attorney General's Office. We haven't quite figured out what they do. For a complaint regarding tenant/landlord they sent us a tenant/landlord booklet. For a complaint against Civil Rights violations, we were given the phone number for legal aid. Quality of Care for Healthcare, we were bounced to the Health Department. They also don't take complaints against any agencies, referring it to the Governor's office pawning it off as a "State matter." So regardless of what they have listed on their website, the Attorney General's office's role, it appears, is to pass the buck.
4. The Office of the Governor. Last, but not least is the Governor's office. There appears to be three GUYS that work there. They are all very nice, but not very knowledgable. They cannot confidently answer ANY questions, even if the question is so basic as who oversees a particular department. We thought it was Government 101 knowledge but we guess not. We recognized one of them from the old Chaffee regime, so at least we are glad he maintained his job.
The degree in which mental health and dementia are recognized largely depends on culture. In some cultures, such as the Asian population, it is not a topic of discussion among family members. Even in the U.S., the conversation of mental health is wildly debated, and continues to drag on year after year with nothing being done about it.
The U.S. has a long and sordid history of institutionalizing patients with mental illness, a hint of mental incapacity, depression or even dementia. Society has gotten better, with the newer generation, striving to make sense of mental health in America, but we are in no way there yet. All we have done is trade in one "Institution" with "Skilled" nursing, "Assisted" Living and; "Revolving" mental health facilities. Whilst there are more state "Regulations" and inspectors to ensure the proper care of residents who are mentally incapacitated in these facilities; they only act as alternative "housing," not a "solution."
Unfortunately, as a "society," we have ignored as a collective the vast issues of those with mental incapacity. NOW, we are paying the price for our ignorance with an epidemic of gun violence. Dementia, is also a progressive mental state that we know nothing about. YET, we hear so much about it. The ONLY true test for Alzheimer is during autopsy; but NO doctor will ever tell you that; at least not the ones we came across. Yet, "Alzheimer" is such a buzz word and a rallying point.
No one really can conclusively tell you what causes mental "instability." "Experts" will conjecture, but NO one really has the hard evidence. It is also not an ELECTABLE topic, so politicians will rarely talk about it, UNTIL there is a tragic sequence of events such as #VirginiaShooting.
The police don't want to get involved either. They will most likely call the "Bus" or "Rescue" and have these people transported to the local hospital for "evaluation." The media doesn't want to touch it since it is such a "touchy" subject with a lot of moving parts; not interesting enough and; does not sell air time or newspapers.
Most general hospitals don't have the expertise or all the FACTS to deal with mental health issues, YET they won't admit to their own short comings, either. They may call in other agencies, such as the Department of Elderly Affairs (DEA) for seniors; who also lack the proper resources and skills. The DEA has no checks and balances and no overseeing body. They are not interested in the truth. They are ONLY interested in incarceration. In most instances, these agencies will OVER REACH and pull down the WRONG branch.
Meanwhile, the patient will once again, FALL THROUGH the cracks on EVERY body's watch.
You also have organizations like Gateway that facilitate their own "version" of a mental test. Their quest, it seems, is to find out if you are "Homicidal" or "Suicidal." This determines if you go to a mental health facility for further evaluation. You can get there FASTER, if you lightly push a nurse during the course of your stay in hospital. Unfortunately, administering such tests have no meaning for a person of a different culture, where cultural nuances will come into play and; where language is NOT universal. You CANNOT fit a square peg into a round hole and; unless you speak "their language," the test is MEANINGLESS!!!!
Unfortunately, ER doctors and nurses have way too much "Self-appointed" and "Self-obsessive, "God-like" powers to make decisions, without family consent; where they hide behind policies with no concrete documents (when specifically requested) AND; don't know what to do next so; patients languish in "Observation" until they "figure it out." "Observation" is a made up hospital administrative term that means that the patient is in a room, but not "Technically" admitted. In other words, an OXYMORON!
We have done nothing but put a BAND-AID on mental health and dementia issues in the U.S. We relied too HEAVILY on hospitals and our own physicians unable to efficiently deal with these issues. We have professionals and elected officials passing the buck AND it appears all the media wants to do is sensationalize the story, by bringing in "experts" to "arm chair quarterback" why the gunman did what he did.
If EVER there was insanity...THIS IS IT!
When you go into battle, you MUST empty ALL pre-conceived ideas and thoughts. You must become one with your weapon and; NEVER fear death. Once you do, YOU will lose.
Protecting your RIGHTS and FREEDOMS WILL be your life long mission. You will come across institutions that will attempt to take away your liberties to advance their "hidden" agendas. They may approach disguised as a "friendly," BUT they are NOT your friends.
The MOST powerful weapon you can have is INFORMATION! BUT, you must have the RIGHT information to act efficiently. Everything you do and say will and OFTEN be scrutinized. The BEST DEFENSE is a BETTER OFFENSE. DOCUMENT EVERYTHING, including your encounters. Get names, descriptions (if possible), dates and times.
IF possible, audio tape ALL conversations and video tape all in-person meetings. You can do this legally IF you live in a one consent state where you DO NOT have to tell the other person they are being recorded. At ALL times, record RESPONSIBLY and understand the reasons why you are doing it.
Do NOT bend like the wind. IF an institution such as a hospital tries to create a barrier, i.e. "Declaration" of incompetence; deny access to family members with legitimate Powers of Attorney and Durable Powers of Attorney and/or; provide no medical reasons for keeping you or your family member(s) there; they do this because THEY FEAR YOUR POWER! Remember that. If you have done nothing criminal; these types of maneuvers are just a smoke screen to make themselves feel self-important. Remember that too!