Nursing Home Threatens to Ban Complaining Husband

A nursing home in Altoona, Iowa, is restricting a husband's visits to his wife, who is a resident at the facility, and is threatening to ban him altogether.

Chuck Brafford, 67, contends the CLC Altoona nursing home's restrictions are the result of his speaking up when he believes that nurses or aides are not providing his wife, Doris, with adequate care. "I sometimes I say a few things that maybe I shouldn't," Brafford told the Des Moines Register. "But this is my wife, and I care about her. I don't care about anything else. So I guess I'm kind of outspoken. And they don't like that."

Nursing home officials claim Brafford uses vulgar language or makes 'inappropriate threatening comments to the staff.' CLC attorney Lynne Renfro recently sent Brafford a letter saying that for now the facility "will allow you to continue to assist your wife in the front lobby during the dinner hours." CLC also warned Brafford that his "daily visitation privilege" to the home may be eliminated if his alleged behavior persists.

Such banishments appear to be on the rise nationally, according to The National Citizens' Coalition for Nursing Home Reform (NCCNHR). The group says it knows of individuals in a number of states who claim that nursing home staff retaliated against them when they alleged poor care.

Although according to federal law a nursing home cannot arbitrarily restrict residents' access to visitors, nursing home workers have legal protections against harassment and threats. In addition, Iowa regulations give nursing homes the power to restrict visits by people who are "unreasonably disruptive."

To read the full article in the Jan. 17, 2005, Des Moines Register, click here. (Article may no longer be available.)