Advice needed re nursing home

linda1scot

Registered User
Aug 2, 2011
416
53
north lanarkshire
Good evening all

I am looking for a wee bit of advice please. mum went into what we thought was a wonderful nursing home just under 2 weeks ago.

The 3 times I have visited her she has been dirty looking with greasy hair and one occasion she looked as if she had slept in her clothes. (it turned out she had been wearing them for 3 days non stop). I obviously mentioned this to the staff and they said they cant force mum to wash or change her clothes but they would try to talk her round.

Yesterday when I saw her she had been washed (her hair was clean) but her teeth were absolutely disgusting and full of tartar. I again said to staff about mums teeth. I did try myself to ask mum to brush her teeth but she went off her head and wasn't pleased with me to say the least.

Is hygiene and cleanliness not part of looking after someone in a nursing home. I would think at £850 per week they could at least attempt to wash mum.

Mum is still on a 4 week trial and my 2 brothers and my sister are starting to be concerned although the staff are lovely and mum seems to have settled in ok.

Am I being concerned over something trivial or should I worry?

Thanks once again for your help.

Linda x
 

Jessbow

Registered User
Mar 1, 2013
2,944
West Hertfordshire
Yes I guess it IS a basic requirement, but if she wont co-operate, then I guess they cant make her do it - nor do it for her.

I guess the flip side would be that we would complain if our loved ones were forced to shower or be showered against their will.

Difficult one.
 

annie h

Registered User
Jun 1, 2013
148
Hi Linda,
There was a similar post and short thread a week or so back - "Care Home Worries". Personal hygiene is a fairly common theme so you would probably find lots of other relevant posts if you did some keyword searches on "bath" or similar. To cut a long story short it's worth working with the home to see what they are able to achieve and they ought to be able to manage it at least once they've got to know her a bit and recognise what triggers problems. However, lots of homes are not up to it and if it doesn't work out you need to look for somewhere who can.

Hope you find somewhere suitable soon.
 

FifiMo

Registered User
Feb 10, 2010
4,710
Wiltshire
With all due respect, tartar doesn't build up on teeth that quickly, if that is what it is. At the end of the day, staff in the home are human too and are more constrained by law in what they can and cannot do with a person who they are caring for. Family members at home might get away with being frustrated or having a shouting match or a fair amount of coercion to get the person to comply. These things would not however be tolerated in a care home.

So, what can they do? They can persist in asking her to comply. They can pick their moments (and their fights), they can ask family members to help if they are more likely to get her to comply. Two weeks is nothing quite frankly. Some people on here will tell you that their loved ones haven't had a bath or a shower for months, even years.

Have you tried to find out what the issue is for your mum? Maybe she doesn't like not having any privacy. Maybe she doesn't like being bathed 'like a baby'. Maybe she has developed a fear of water - particularly the shower - very common with people who have dementia. Maybe she is keeping her clothes on for fear someone will steal them in her new environment. Between you and the staff, perhaps you can find out what the issue is?

Does the home have a hairdresser? Maybe your mum would like to go there once a week and have her hair done. Treat it as a special event - get dressed up to go - that kind of thing.

Above all of the above, there is something that is way more important than having a bath or changing her clothes and that is that she has settled in the home and that the staff are caring and kindly towards each other. Many many people on here would forego the odd bath or shower if their loved ones were content and well looked after in their care home. My personal opinion is that this is not an issue that I would consider moving your mother for, provided the staff are trying to persuade her to cooperate. Time will move on. This phase will pass and be replaced with something else.

Fiona
 

linda1scot

Registered User
Aug 2, 2011
416
53
north lanarkshire
Thanks for your replies. I found the thread and was an interesting read thank you.

Mum is in a nursing home in a specialist dementia unit. Again like someone else previously said in that 'care home worries' thread that we too were told they would be able to cope with mums hygiene issues and her not wanting a bath or shower wouldn't be a problem as they had trained staff who were able to deal with this kind of issue.

I also fully understand that the staff will need some time to get to know mum and likewise a degree of trust will need to be built where mum is concerned which will allow her to bond with the staff before allowing them to help her.

I guess its difficult putting mum into the care of others. early days....... x
 

linda1scot

Registered User
Aug 2, 2011
416
53
north lanarkshire
Hi Fiona thanks for your reply.

I may have used the word tartar but what I meant was the fact that her teeth obviously hadn't been brushed in ages as they were all white along the gum lines. This is more of a personal issue as mum was always a stickler for hygiene and teeth brushing as my dad was a dental technician and they both brought us all up to look after our teeth. we actually played with false teeth growing up as we sat by dad and watched him at work lol.

I do agree with what you have said regarding the 'forced' washing and I too have mentioned this to my siblings. The home has a hairdresser and I requested that mum has an appointment. Also like you suggested I said to mum she could have a 'pamper' and get her nails etc done at the same time and she loved this idea (for all of 20 seconds). She then refused to go.

I know my asking for advice re the hygiene issue may seem trivial compared to a lot of the threads here and my heart truly goes out to everyone who has a relative/friend with this cruellest of diseases but I guess like everyone here I feel a bit out of my depth at times and don't really know what to do for the best for my mum. I can only try my best. x
 

FifiMo

Registered User
Feb 10, 2010
4,710
Wiltshire
Linda,

You are trying your best and sadly, that is all you can do. I know you want what is best for your mum and from what you say she is getting the best care she is willing to accept right now. Maybe in order to reassure yourself and your siblings, it might be worth having a discussion with the manager. It doesn't have to be confrontational. Tell them that you are at the point that you need to take stock and review what is best for your mum going forward. See what they say about the hygiene and dental care etc. Maybe ask if there is anything you as a family could do to help the situation. At least by doing this you will know that, if nothing else, you have explored the various options with them.

My mother was fine with going to the hairdresser as long as we told her it was free! When I told her I was paying for it, she nearly had a hairy fit! LOL Must have been the Aberdonian showing though! LOL

Fiona
 

jaymor

Volunteer Moderator
Jul 14, 2006
12,669
England
Hi,

Care home staff do have their hands tied when it comes to 'hands on' care and I for one am pleased that this is the case. But they can with patience and the right approach manage a situation.

It also takes time for carers to get to know a resident and their ways as it is for a resident to get to feel comfortable with the carers.

My husband is in a nursing home for challenging behaviour with 8 other men and they are always well dressed and clean. Not easy but they manage it. I was there once all day when one of the men had obviously refused to shower. Every 15 minutes or so he was asked would he like a shower or bath and his reply was a very firm no. Then late afternoon the answer became yes but not just now. Just as their evening meal was due he was asked again and he said yes now. The carers helped him up and down the corridor they went singing rub a dub dub we are off to the tub. So it took all day but they never gave up asking and mission was accomplished and he was served his meal in the sitting room when he was showered.

My husband was difficult at home to shower but now will shower each morning and allow them to wash him before bed but he is difficult now with teeth cleaning. They maybe succeed a couple of times a week but they keep encouraging, miracles can happen.

I sometimes think expecting a bath or shower on a daily basis is unnecessary. When I was young it was a bath every Friday night and a good wash on the other six days.

My husband is also difficult to feed as are several others but the carers keep trying and if main meals are rejected they keep them supplied all day with snacks, fruit and chocolate so they never go hungry.

It is very difficult when someone goes into care, I was really uptight when my husband first went into his nursing home but now I am far more relaxed as I know he is well cared for but it did take time.

Take care,

Jay









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LYN T

Registered User
Aug 30, 2012
6,962
Brixham Devon
My Husband is also a difficult one to bathe

When he was at home it had got to seven weeks of no water allowed near the skin:eek:What can be done? The stress that he felt must have been terrible. Now in his CH he generally gets bathed once a week. He cleans his teeth about twice a week.They are doing better than I did.But the carers do have to choose their moments.I've channeled my energies in choosing my fights (I'm lucky as I have never had to complain about the CH)

From what I've read /heard this is a common problem

Take care

Lyn T
 

Neph

Registered User
Jan 27, 2014
179
I too have had my concerns over my mum. Her nails are quite long and when I went to see her on Saturday she still had the remnants of her dinner on her chin. I was going to speak to them about it, but while I was there they had to come and move her as she is bedridden and has to be turned regularly.

What I saw shocked me, my once quiet, gentle mum turned into a screaming, scratching, biting being. She made it almost impossible for them to change her and wash her face. They were gentle and reasurring as they could be, but I can imagine if she had been stronger then it would have been a really difficult battle.

I would talk about your worries with the NH manager and nurse and see what they have to say. I've learned that communication is the best way forward. It is better than you sitting stressing at home.
 

Saffie

Registered User
Mar 26, 2011
22,506
Near Southampton
Yesterday when I saw her she had been washed (her hair was clean) but her teeth were absolutely disgusting and full of tartar. I again said to staff about mums teeth. I did try myself to ask mum to brush her teeth but she went off her head and wasn't pleased with me to say the least.
I think the oral hygiene is more of an issue. My husband has had a couple of really bad fungal infections, firstly in the hospital and also in his nursing home and his mouth as very sore.
The dentist was very scathing about care that doesn't incude care for the mouth.
Both infections incurred having antibacterial and antifungal medication and a soft food diet whilst the sore gums healed.

He used to struggle but I was advised to buy a very soft toothbrush - in fact the dentist recommended a baby's toothbrush - and this is used by the carers, or rather was. I discovered yesterday that his carer had used the brush for his dental plate so I spoke to the nurse about it. This brush is really hard and shaped in a large curve but I don't think the carer was aware of what it was. The nurse is very supportive as she is aware of what happened before.

If every person in my husbands nursing home had a bath/shower every day, that's all the carers would have time to do! There are 80 residents, all needing nursing and most having to be hoisted in and out of everywhere.
 
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mari718

Registered User
May 22, 2014
1
Hello,

Dental care can be a issue especially during the last stages of dementia. If you are facing problems with resistance from the person that is taken care of to keep their mouth open or he /she tends to bite the bedi shield may be useful( it's a simple device that you put on your finger). Hope this helps.