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In last week's Lake Oswego Review, we ran a story about problems associated with the Avamere rehabilitation and memory facility in Lake Oswego called the Pearl at Kruse Way. The story, titled 'Citations, injuries pile up at the Pearl,' has generated considerable comments from readers on our Web site (www.lakeoswegoreview.com). Below is a sampling of the comments we have received, which, unlike the editorial pages in the Review, do not have the writers' names listed:

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I am Bill Balmer's grandson (focal point of the story), and I wanted to say thank you for pursuing this and publishing this article. More people need to be aware of this facility and others like it, and I appreciate your help in doing so.

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My grandmother was a patient at the Pearl and she received loving, professional care by the staff at the Pearl. Our family had no complaints.

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Our mother, Marjorie Holbrook, is a dignified and humorous woman with Alzheimer's disease. Our family moved her from our family home of 50 years on a wrenching leap of faith to the Memory Care unit at The Pearl. Avamere promised our family expert Alzheimer care and professionalism. What we found there was a train wreck. Caregivers were untrained, medications mismanaged, food was abysmal and there was an overwhelming insensitivity to the disease. Despite numerous meetings, little improved.

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Wow, my wife's parents are at Avamere in Newberg and they receive excellent care. Her mother has Alzheimer's and is in the specialty unit there. The father lives in an apartment. He raves about the excellent quality of the food (a usual complaint in those places) and I have to agree. I've eaten there several times and the food was on a par with the nicer restaurants in Portland. Her father is fully mentally competent and often says he wished he'd moved there sooner.

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My family member stays at the Pearl and we're not happy. Staffing is confused, management is deceptive, and food is below standard. If we had an alternative, we would move them. Fear of corporate retaliation and continued rate increases (35 percent per year!) quiets complaints. Many residents were forced to move out because of excessive charges beyond those promised.

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It seems your paper should be commended for bringing this imformation to the public. Our elderly citizens of this state deserve to be treated with honor and dignity in any facility they are placed in. The fact that the Pearl is simply fined a dollar amount for their extreme neglect, which has led to a patient's death is horrific. Where is the accountability and justice?

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Our family has read this report with great sadness as we had our father in this substandard facility until one month ago. We found many of the same complaints that are mentioned (in the story). We hope that these reports discourage other families from placing their loved ones in any Avamere care center. We would never recommend them!

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Our mom was in the rehab side of the Pearl last summer. From the moment she entered all things were chaotic. It was a terrible experience to the point where we didn't even want to leave her alone at night. Aside from one or two caregivers, the rest had no clue as to what they were doing. One caregiver even had to get help to take her blood pressure. The food was terrible - just awful, even after we were told there was a 'wonderful chef' creating the meals. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to open a can! And many times the food was so late in arriving to the dining room that it was cold or just plain gross.

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I am an employee of the Pearl currently seeking other employment. The place is a disaster in so many ways! The only thing Avamere is concerned with is money. Money comes first, then the well being of the management, then the residents, and lastly the caregivers. We are short staffed daily, mistreated by management, and receive no training. A person with no experience in dementia care can get a job on the memory care unit there and they would still not receive any training.

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Our mom, a very independent 80 year old, was in the Pearl at Kruse Way following a broken femur last summer. We looked the building and staff over carefully before deciding on them for her rehab. We knew the Avamere name, we were directed to them by the discharge planner and they had a room available. We didn't have a lot of time to look but we did look at two other places before deciding on the Pearl. New and fresh sold us. Well, we'll never again 'judge a book by its cover' we'll tell you. We thought we had asked all the right questions having done our homework ahead of time so we knew what to look for and ask about, such as staffing levels, meals, etc. I don't know how many times mom was called to a meal that didn't show up for another 30 to 45 minutes and then it was cold (although it could be bad even when on time). We were told by the administrator who toured us they'd just hired a new chef and that most meals were from 'scratch,' etc. and that 'yes,' she ate there too! Well, maybe she ate the food but I'll bet it was hot and, in the nearly four weeks mom was there she only saw the administrator once at any meal time in the dining area and that particular time everyone at mom's table asked to speak with her about the food.

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While you're at it check out the St. Helens Avamere. Before the facility was finished we had my mom signed up to go into the facility. My mom suffered from dementia and was heavy set. She fell before the facility was finished and we had to make the decision to put her into a nursing home in Scappoose. When the Avamere facility was finished they called us and told us that we could move mom in. Before dad and I made that decision we went in and talked to the administrator, our concerns was that we wanted to know how long she could stay at the facility and we were told basically until her death. Dad and I didn't want to move mom with her declining disease if we were just going to have to move her back. We were satisfied with the care she was getting in Scappoose. We made the decision to move her based on what the administrator had told us and the new and clean look of the Avamere facility. Wrong decision. She became ill with what the nurse told us was merely a cold, dad and I knew better so we called an ambulance and had her admitted to the hospital, the doctors advised us to let her go but we couldn't do it so she was treated. When she was ready to leave, Avamere St. Helens would not take her back and their reason was, they did not have a lift bed so she went back to the nursing home in Scappoose where they were shocked to see the decline in her health in such a short time.