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Advice for when Mum goes into hospital

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Untamed, Jul 14, 2015.

  1. Untamed

    Untamed Registered User

    Feb 28, 2014
    My Mum has had Alzheimers for over a year now - she has got to the stage where recent things are forgotten almost instantly and she seems to be happiest when she is in her own little world. She also gets stuck on certain thoughts and mixes up information, creating new scenarios with what little information she has retained. She is going into hospital on Monday to have a hip replacement and already is getting confused over what is going to happen and in what order.

    What I am trying to say is - can anyone out there help me with a bit of advice to help her, and the staff, while she is in the hospital? I am worried sick that she'll forget what she has been told and get into a right tizz about things. She also rather 'follows the lead' when asked questions, answering with what she thinks is the right answer, especially if she is prompted. I know what specialists are like (talk in completely baffling medical language!) and worry that she might start agreeing to things that would not be beneficial for her (e.g. she goes wacky when given morphine but doesn't remember that she has ever had it). We are also expected to leave her at 7am (no hangers-on allowed on the ward) on Monday until her op, which could be any time that day.

    Any suggestions would be most appreciated :)
  2. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    Stay with her all of the time she's in there, difficult but I'm sure if you ask the staff will try and accommodate you.
  3. snorkmaiden

    snorkmaiden Registered User

    Mar 8, 2014
    Hi Untamed, I look after my Dad who has terminal cancer as well as Alzheimers. I try to explain to my Dad what is being proposed in quiet times at home and try to find out how he feels about it all before we go to the hospital. He is a person who will agree to anything a doctor proposes but my experience so far has been that doctors and consultants are very honest and state the facts, the pros and cons of any treatment proposed. I always go with my Dad so can then remind him of exactly what has been suggested and what the most likely outcome will be of the different options suggested. Ultimately, the decision is Dads, he still has capacity to make those decisions but all I can advise is that you should try to be there at any consultations that your Mum has, if she is ok with that, so that you can remind the doctors she has Alzheimers and remind her or explain/discuss exactly what was said. My experience so far, though, has been that surgical intervention would not be contemplated, unless essential, if it were likely to be unsurvivable or left Dad in a worse physical state than he's already in. I also believe that surgeons/consultants still work on the belief that if you don't ask questions, you don't want to know so they don't tell you..... so .....try to be there, if OK with mum, and ask lots of questions!
    Hope all goes well xx
  4. Linbrusco

    Linbrusco Registered User

    Mar 4, 2013
    Auckland...... New Zealand
    My Mum was admitted to hospital Jan 2013 for bowel surgery for a cancerous growth.
    This was at the start of her dementia but before her AD diagnosis July 2013.

    Hospital was advised of her dementia, and given a copy of my POA for Health & Welfare.
    It ended up being a very trying time, and in hindsight I wish my sister & I took turns to stay 24/7.
    Not sure of yours or the patients rights in the UK, but dementia or not you have the right to have a family support present as practical as possible.
    My Mum no longer has the capacity to make medical decisions.
    Without me or my sister there, Mum would agree to and go along with anything.

    best wishes for your Mums surgery.
  5. Untamed

    Untamed Registered User

    Feb 28, 2014
    Many thanks, Kevini, snorkmaiden and Linbrusco for your comments. I think I had come to the conclusion that one of us would have to stay with her 24/7. Honestly - my poor Mum has had such a rollercoaster of a ride since diagnosis the last thing she needed was a collapsing hip - it never rains........
  6. balloo

    balloo Registered User

    Sep 21, 2013
    I spent 3 night on plastic chairs when my MIL was in hospital with a uti and K drip needed .I did not ask just stayed .My MIL has Vascular dementia and staff had no idea how to help her . 3 nights no sleep but mil was better with someone she knows there .She did not know how to use buzzer when needing loo
  7. susy

    susy Registered User

    Jul 29, 2013
    North East
    Talk to the ward manager ASAP. Explain that your mum has Alzheimer's and needs one to one care whilst in hospital due to her condition and how confusing taking her out of her own environment will be. (If she takes offence, some people can be ridiculous, then go above her head and talk to the matron that covers that ward) say you are willing and able to stay with her .... And say what you can do.
    Then see what happens. The way the staff have been cut and not replaced when people retire or leave means that they should be over the moon with any offer of help rather than shoe you away at 7am

    All the very best xx
  8. CO CO

    CO CO Registered User

    Jul 10, 2015
    My mother broke her hip in the assessment centre/care home,not sure how much pain your mother is in but mine was in agony.
    Anyway my mother was bed ridden before the op so could not move out of bed so they had her on a bed that dropped to the floor the whole time in case she tried.
    The other thing is they will know she has not got full capacity so they will only do what's needed and ask you for permission to do things that she needs that would normally need permission from her, I would let the nurses know that you are available to help for meal times etc as mine stopped eating because they were giving food she could not eat as she has only 3 front teeth and no dentures. So yeah make sure if she has any special requirements you get them to write it on the white board above her bed.
    I think they have strict visiting how many people can visit because of dignity of the other patients and to control infection.
    When she comes out the op she will be in a right state mine was and it was a uphill slog to get her right.
    The positives she forgot she had been in a operation after the operation and didn't dwell as she thought she just had a bad leg which they gave her pain killers for and because if the memory thing and they don't dwell so the physical recover is much quicker because they are very honest about what they can and can't do because mine forgot she had a operation in her brain everything is in the now, she just thought she had a bad leg and we let her think that way and she was on her feet in no time.
    everyone said if she had have broken it before dementia she would have literally died but with dementia she got on with it.
    Another thing mine spits her tablets out after you put them in her mouth if you don't watch her, while she was on the ward I had to make sure they knew this over and over again because I was finding them in her drinks and in the cupboard as they kept leaving her with the cup of pills ( why would you leave someone with memory issues with medication?)so she was missing out, if your mother does things that would hinder her recovery let them know and make sure they remember I.e get them to put it on the white board.
  9. Bramble68

    Bramble68 Registered User

    May 11, 2013
    There's a system in our NHS trust (not sure if it's nationwide across the UK) where you can notify the hospital of a patient with dementia/Alzheimers etc, explain EXACTLY how the person operates, how to talk to then, suggest ways in which staff can best communicate, etc., and the info will (should!) be entered into their record, which is available via any hospital within the same trust. It's not perfect, by any means, but it's a start with regard to information sharing across the whole system.
  10. jimbo 111

    jimbo 111 Registered User

    Jan 23, 2009
    North Bucks
    I am in a medical wardat the móment with two elderly and confused gentlemen opposite, both suffering with dementia
    since I háve been in this wardthey have not ha any visitors, but because of their agitation a nurse is constantly with them
    the advice to stay with your mum as long as you can is good the nurses do their best but
    it is obvious that a family member would far more easily understand andcalm them down
    I hope every thing goes well
    best wishes
  11. Rodelinda

    Rodelinda Registered User

    Jun 15, 2015
    Does the hospital have a formal or informal family carer scheme?

    Where I live our hospital has a formal scheme for family carers. It allows us open access to the wards at all times; it's a help to the person in hospital becase of the familiarity issues mentioned by others, it also allows good communication with staff from someone who knows the person and their needs/wants etc. It's a help to staff as there is someone knowledgeable they can rely on to talk to, someone to help them deal with the normal tasks of assisting with eating and drinking, chatting, helping someone in and out of bed (when that's on the agenda), someone who will spot issues and changes. It worked for us 2 years ago when my mother fell and was in hospital for some time and on a more recent trip when she had become dehydrated. It's worth asking - and it can only be of benefit to your Mum, to you and to the staff. Hope all goes well for you and your Mum.
  12. Keepingup

    Keepingup Registered User

    Jul 13, 2015
    We have this problem in two weeks time. We desperately tried to reschedule Mum's procedure for when we are about but the hospital say that's not possible despite us not being around afterwards. We flagged our concern about her being in hospital but they don't seem to take on board her Alzheimers and how it might affect her.

    Having read these posts we'll have to cancel.
  13. mrf94

    mrf94 Registered User

    Dec 17, 2014
    my experience with my wife in hospital having the hip operation done, which was caused by the people in the hospital in the first place is.

    There are some brilliant individuals in these places but the whole has a complete lack of common sense, do not under any circumstances leave the patient on there own i had to tell the doctor on the ward no general anasthetic i was asked why?

    to be polite im a redneck im rough i had to explain about dementia and this anesthetic
    to university people?
    next the anesthetist turns up and he got the lesson only in an emergency because dementia is terminal and i want as much of my wife as i can have as long as i can these people dont know about these things because its just a job on a conveyor belt to them

    theres a lot more to tell but it upsets me, after the opp there at risk of fall so they sit or lay on a movable mat that is alarmed what a laugh my next phone call was ...we found your wife on the toilet floor.. and you know the best of all this..... i wastold, wait for it, i have an attitude


  14. mrf94

    mrf94 Registered User

    Dec 17, 2014
    Forgot to add they stuck a needle in her spine and used a local so it can be done

    mrf94 david
  15. Spiro

    Spiro Registered User

    Mar 11, 2012
    June Andrews - Dementia The One-Stop Guide

    This book has chapter about hospital admissions, it's very informative. You can buy it online.

    Otherwise have a look at her website blog http://forum.alzheimers.org.uk/newreply.php?p=1136601&noquote=1

    If the hospital has a website, then perhaps you can find out about their dementia policy.

    If I were in your position, I would insist on speaking to the surgeon and the ward sister/manager and find out how dementia aware they are. Do they understand the meaning of "mental capacity"? My concern is whether your Mum is capable of signing the consent form.
  16. Long-Suffering

    Long-Suffering Registered User

    Jul 6, 2015
    Hi Untamed,

    I think it very much depends on the hospital. I have heard that some dementia patients have had great care in the general wards. Sadly, that has not been my experience.

    I've posted a lot on another thread about what happened to my dad when he was admitted to a general ward for the elderly before Christmas. It was a nightmare, as they just didn't have the staff or training to care for someone with dementia.

    My mum got daily reports from the other elderly patients every day when she went to visit. They told her my dad was just left standing in a corner in his night clothes for hours.

    They didn't feed him and he can't feed himself, so he lost 5 kilos.

    They didn't write notes in his file after various assessments and treatments.

    He claimed one of the nurses had abused him.

    He was allowed to wander around the hospital unsupervised and in doing so managed to lose his glasses.

    They gave him an important letter to give to his GP - something he was mentally incapable of doing.

    They left the cannula in the back of his hand when they sent him home.

    And those are just the incidents we know about. Hopefully, your hospital experience won't be as terrible as ours was.

  17. Long-Suffering

    Long-Suffering Registered User

    Jul 6, 2015
    Forgot to add that they repeatedly told him that he would be going home the next day, but then they didn't send him home. This happened several days running and they admitted to me that it was true, but couldn't explain why it had happened.

    I also overheard them laughing about my parents when I was talking to one of the nurses on the phone. I could hear the other nurses laughing in the background. Basically, they just treated my parents like two funny, crazy old people with no respect whatsoever.

  18. mrf94

    mrf94 Registered User

    Dec 17, 2014
    #18 mrf94, Jul 16, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2015
    Pals at our infirmary are phone only, still waiting for the call I left messages for the care navigator and for a social worker , still waiting .

    while on the ward i asked to see the dementia trained person, lol still waiting But they used the blue butterfly i now know how the blue butterfly scheme works ,It just tells those who know that here is dementia , It doesnt mean anything else no matter what you read or get told, To put it bluntly sticking that piece on the board simply means they dont have to write it out, I have grown up knowing that hospital is somewhere you go to put your life in there hands no more im afraid


  19. garnuft

    garnuft Registered User

    Sep 7, 2012
    Sorry to hear that you're in hospital Jim. I hope better health returns to you soon. xxx

    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
  20. Untamed

    Untamed Registered User

    Feb 28, 2014
    Thank you all for your comments and for sharing your experiences, some of which must have been painful to relate. We are very fortunate that a friend of my parents is a consultant anaesthetist at the hospital and has already spoken to the surgeon and his team about my mum and by the sounds of it has taken it upon himself to ensure that he will be keeping a close eye on her care. He did this a couple of years ago when she had an emergency operation and was very poorly for a while - had the staff running about like there was no tomorrow! He popped round today and said she was second on the list and all was well.

    Thank you again for all your kind comments and advice. Tomorrow is the day and we all have to be up at the crack of dawn!

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