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  1. #1
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    Dementia and surgery

    I posted a while ago that I was waiting for a diagnosis for my mum. She was eventually seen at the memory clinic , we are now waiting for a CAT scan to be done. The memory clinic do think she has dementia, just not sure what kind yet.

    In the meantime My mum has been having a lot of pain in her groin, it turns out her hip needs replacing. How do people with dementia cope with surgery and post operative recovery. She is in a lot of pain , this is making her depressed so something needs to be done for her.

    Thank you in advance for your advice
    Lisa
     

  2. #2
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    Usually, it is said that dementia and surgery do not mix well. The dementia brain seems to take a big "hit" from general anaesthesia, also any physical illness or trauma can amplify the symptoms of dementia although this usually improves as the body recovers. There can also be a problem in post-operative recovery if patients become unco-operative because they do not understand what they are being asked to do, or if it causes discomfort (for example, physio-therapy often causes some discomfort but is necessary). Lastly, some people with dementia can find entry into hospital very confusing because it involves changes of routine, of place, and of people.

    However, this said, people with dementia can and do have surgery and recover well from it.

    It sounds as though the hip problem is really affecting your mum's quality of life.

    If you are worried you can talk it through with your mum's GP or consultant.

    They will certainly be taking extra precautions with things like anaesthesia and post-operative care if it is known the patient has dementia.
     

  3. #3
    Hi Lisa; I'm not gainsaying the caustions from Nebiroth's first paragraph, but just relating my own experience in a similar situation.

    My mum (then 86) was fortunate enough to be diagnosed at a relatively early stage ("how long is a piece of string?" springs to mind, sorry) she was still quite aware of the world around her, still knew her own mind & was able to express herself clearly.

    The year after diagnosis, she fell whilst we were visiting her niece & broke her upper left arm. After 6 months in a sling it was still not healing at all ( what a surprise), was giving her pain & severely spoiling what quality of life she had left - at that time reasonably good if she could travel comfortably.

    After several discussions with her, I/we then 'pushed' the consultant into discussing the possibility of pinning the bone. Obviously this would be under general anaesthetic if he could do it at all, and the risks were discussed at length, in Mum's presence & with her active input. He agreed to do it & before the op. I also talked at length with the anaesthetist to make sure everyone involved knew all the relevant facts.

    She only spent one day in hospital following the op. and whilst she was confused & disorientated while she was in there, the hospital environment itself didn't upset her (she was a former Nurse herself, so I think she felt quite at home ) As soon as she got home - I lived with her 24/7 - she was back to 'normal' mentally and did not (in my UNqualified opinion) suffer damage as a result of the anaesthetic.

    I offer this example for what it may be worth; it may be an exception to the rule, but bad enough she had Alzheimer's without being in constant pain without relief, and she was able to understand & contribute to the decisions made at the time.
    Lynne
    former Carer

    "Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way", lyric line from 'Time', by Pink Floyd

     

  4. #4
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    Many thanks to both replies. My mums hip is definetely affecting her quality of life and she is in the early stages ( she still lives alone and is managing to wash and dress herself and now and again she goes to town on her own, so maybe before it progresses further the new hip might be a good idea. I just dont want surgery to make her dementia worse.
    So many decisions to make , I suppose we will learn along the way.
     

  5. #5
    I would also ask about the use of an epidural as opposed to a general anaesthetic.

    I understand that a fair number of hip op's are done this way to avoid the risks of general anaesthesia.

    Take care,
    Sandy
    Talking Point Member
     

  6. #6
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    Operation all done

    My mum had her hip Operation yesterday and it seems to have confused her a lot. She cant understand why shes in hospital and keeps tring to get out of bed ( shes not allowed un assisted incase she dislocates the new hip ) She is angry with me for leaving her there and I have a kidney infection which makes all this feel so much worse and tearful.. I was going to have mum stay with me for a week after she comes home but I am not sure I am equipped to look after her and now I feel so guilty for changing my mind..I am sure I will work it out
     

  7. #7
    Hi Lisa,

    Don't feel guilty for wondering if you are equipped to look after your mum following such a major procedure.

    A hip replacement (as well as any stay in hospital) can have a major impact on the health of someone with dementia. For example, it can be very difficult to get them to cooperate with the physio and get them back up on their feet.

    You might want to look at the Alzheimer's Society's factsheet on hospital discharge:

    http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/sc...documentID=173

    You should be asking now for an assessment of your mum's needs now, before she is discharged from hospital.

    Some people go from hospital to a rehabilitation centre before going back to their own home, so this might be worth asking about.

    Take care,
    Sandy
    Talking Point Member
     

  8. #8
    I hope the operation has gone well and your Mum wont be in pain from her hip any more so that is a positive, but of course the operation would really have been an ordeal for her and the after care with physio will be a bit of a trial, it is only early days yet but I think it is a good time, BEFORE your mother is discharged, to have her assessed and also at the same time you can give your views on her care and what you can or cannot provide for her at this time.
     

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the advice. I have printed the sheet from the alzheimers which was excellent information
     

  10. #10
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    My mum comes home tomorrow and I am apprehensive. Her memory is a lot worse than before she went into hospital. She doesnt even know why shes there. Nothing had been put into place for her to return home so I had to chase social services for some help.

    Lots of questions are running through my mindbut the main 3 are
    1. Can she apply for attendance allowance
    2. Do I need to get POA if I withdraw money from her pension money to do her shopping and pay her bills. She wants me to do the shopping but with dementia I know how quickly it can change and she could think Im stealing her money
    3.Mum has turned nasty to me since being in hospital, shes lovely to everyone else, is this normal

    Thank you to everyone who has replied to me
     

 

 

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