Encouraged not to visit by home...

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Dina, Jan 5, 2007.

  1. Dina

    Dina Registered User

    hi all

    my mum's been in a care home now for 6 weeks and remains unsettled and unhappy. Over this time we have continued to visit and she came out for visits over christmas.

    The home now say this has 'unsettled' her (surely you have to be settled in order to be 'un'ed, but hey, what do i know?) and that it would be best if we either do not visit for the time being, or at least visit much less. This will allow her to settle down again.

    Has anyone any experience of this working? The doctor also advised less visits. If this will work, we are prepared to do it, if it is going to make mum's life better in the long run, but it seems abit cruel to me. Her claims that we have dumped her in 'that hole' and abandoned her, will certainly appear to be true!!:(

    Any advice welcome.:)
  2. Áine

    Áine Registered User

    i honestly don't know dina. i suspect this one is a bit of a minefield. my dad's nh occasionally suggested i backed off a bit with visits (used to go more or less alternate days) ...... but i didn't/wouldn't/ couldn't.

    one complicating factor might be that after a visit relatives can be distressed at having been left again. whether this is more distressing than not being visited at all is another question. but it probably makes for more work for staff for a while ... and that could lead to them suggesting fewer visits.

    i also felt there was a genuine concern for me and how tired i was getting when they were suggesting i visit less.

    i wonder if there might be a difference between visiting the person in the nh and bringing them home for visits - perhaps the latter is more unsettling and confusing.

    at the end of the day, i don't expect there's any clear right and wrong. it's about what's right for your mum at the stage she's at and what's right for you and the rest of the family.
  3. alex

    alex Registered User

    Apr 10, 2006
    Hiya Dina

    As Aine says...........bit of a minefield really...........everyone is different, but you know your mum better than anyone, even the nh staff, so if i was you, i'd do what you feel is best..............i know when my partner was in the hospital rehab unit, i'd agreed with the staff before hand that i'd vist 2-3 times a day in order to settle him in............it worked for us................later on they did suggest that i cut back on visits but that was because he was dying and they thought it would hurt less if i wasn't there as much...............(did they really think it would hurt less?......silly people!)

    Do what you think best...........even if thats 10 visits a day!
    Love Alex x
  4. dmc

    dmc Registered User

    Mar 13, 2006
    hi dina

    my mums in a dementia ward in hospital so it might be a bit different, but my dad goes every single day to see mum we also have her home quite regulaly my mum hates where she is and its heartbreaking to leave her there when we take her back but the ward manager has told us that as soon as we leave the tears stop! and she's fine she said its like leaving a child at school for the first time.
    knowing my dad theres no way he would stop visiting even if told to, you know your mum better than anybody, how was her behaviour when you had her home?
    good luck with it, it is a minefield and everyones situation is different.
    take care x
  5. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    I apologize in advance for this post and really hope I don`t upset anyone.

    How dare nursing homes discourage family visits, using emotional blackmail by saying these visits are `unsettling`.

    Call me cynical if you must, but isn`t the alternative to becoming `unsettled`, becoming institutionalized?

    I speak from experience.
  6. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    All this "don't visit because it unsettles them" reminds me of the normal practice when I was a child if you had to go to hospital. I can remember my father having a tremendous argument with the ward sister when I had my tonsils out about visiting, which I have to say, he won. Nowadays, parents are encouraged to stay on the wards to help calm the child. Now admittedly, most children don't have the memory problems we're dealing with, so in theory they can remember that their parents haven't abandoned them, but I can still remember how emotionally bereft I felt 45 years later, even though I knew I'd be seeing them next day. It is tough, because you have no way of knowing if she settles down when you're not there, or how long that takes. Is there anyway that you could get someone she doesn't know to visit shortly after you've visited, at least to observe? I am always a little wary about professional advice when that professional advice will also make the professional's lives easier. I'm not saying that the well-being of the professionals and the sufferer can't coincide, but I would want some empirical evidence of that.

  7. Michael E

    Michael E Registered User

    Apr 14, 2005
    Ronda Spain
    I am not so sure I agree with the above posts cos:

    When we put somebody permanently in a care home they are never going to out until they are dead - the child analogy is not quite the same I would suggest.

    Given that the 'care home' is going to be 'home' for the rest of their lives is it not better to get through the 'change pain barrier' as quickly as possible? I can sort of understand that us visiting can make the 'longing' for the old status quo last much longer and be difficult to accept the 'permanent' change...

    Of course all the above is easier to write than to do... For us to have to put somebody we love in home is difficult and I expect 'guilt monkeys' run riot - but maybe it is better to suffer the guilt monkey and follow the experience of the people running the home who we trust to look after and care.

    I have been thinking of putting Monique in a home for a week this summer so I can go sailing - trouble is I am scared to death that she will be so tragically distressed it will be disastrous ... so I am not as tough as I sound!!

  8. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    True Michael, very true. Mind you, you'd visit a terminally ill child wouldn't you? Not trying to be argumentative, and it's definitely not the same, but I do wonder whether this "don't visit because it unsettles them" is actually based on anything factual. or if it is as it used to be with children: based on convenience and a misunderstanding about the way the mind copes with trauma i.e. jsut because you're not crying on the outside doesn't mean you're not crying on the inside.

  9. Michael E

    Michael E Registered User

    Apr 14, 2005
    Ronda Spain
    I did have a sentence about long term prison sentences being pointless as a punishment as 'folk' become used to prison after about 6 months I think the time period is (the laptop ate it!) I do think that to keep dangling the 'carrot' of being rescued by the visitor might keep 'hope' alive longer...

    Of course you visit anybody who's death is imminent - it might give them some pleasure. The 'care home' is I suggest a different problem and once the person has settled then the life style of the home becomes the norm and visits are then a pleasant change.

    Do not want to argue all this - not sure about anything at the moment -

  10. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Ditto, Michale, Ditto. I would be soooo nice to be sure (about anything).


  11. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    Can I chip in on this one?
    I think that the move into a NH requires a letting go on both sides. As a relative and a part time carer, I have had to accept that mum now relies on other people to do those things that I used to; that she now has new 'familiar faces' - and in her daily life they are more important than I am. Ow - it hurts. I think maybe by allowing space when relatives go into a NH it may help them to create those new bonds more quickly. I could be completely mistaken.
    Love Helen
  12. Grandaughter 1

    Grandaughter 1 Registered User

    Jan 17, 2006
    My Grandad has been in a nursing home for a couple of weeks now. The 1st visit was horrendous for me - tears all round.

    We then agreed that just Nan would visit every day to get him into a routine. I am quite upset now to find out that my Nan has visited only 3 times overall and intends to only visit him every Tuesday.

    I seem to be the only one upset about this and all the rest of the family just brush off anything I have to say.

    What is right, I do not know. I would say though to do what you feel is best overall for your Mum. Do the home say she is ok when you are not there?

    I've come to learn that there is no right or wrong and you just have to make it up as you go along.

    It's blimin tough though!
  13. dmc

    dmc Registered User

    Mar 13, 2006
    michael i couldnt agree more, those are the ward managers words not mine.
  14. Libby

    Libby Registered User

    May 20, 2006
    North East
    Hi Dina

    My mum has been in a home for almost 2 years now. My brother and I, between us, visit her about 3 – 4 times a week. We have cut this down, as we used to try and arrange it so that she would have a visitor almost every day.

    She used to get really distressed, telling us that it was horrible and she would forever be packing her bags ready to go home with us next time we went in. The home would tell us that she was OK when we weren’t there but it never made it any easier.

    They did suggest that we didn’t go in as much to try and let her settle, but we just found this too hard to do initially.

    Over the past few months, we have started cutting back now – she can’t remember us going in to see her anyway – I know my brother goes at least twice a week, and she’s always telling me that she hasn’t seen him for ages! She says the same to him about me!

    It is hard not to visit, when that person is someone who has been such a big part of your life. Mum used to do so much for me, especially when the kids were young. I also think that she doesn’t have anyone to talk to much in the home and that she feels lonely.

    I would say that you have to do what is right for you – if you trust the home to really take care of your mum then do as they ask, but if you feel that they are too busy to truly ‘care’ then carry on visiting as you want.

  15. Dina

    Dina Registered User

    Thanks for all the advice.

    Libby, I thought for a minute I had written your post, it so describes the situation with my mum and my brothers and sister. Mum is constantly packing to go and swears she hasn't seen anyone for ages.:D

    I want to believe that mum is ok when we are not there, but i have little faith in the homes ability to 'care' for her. I know she is clean and fed and safe, but feel that there is very little...caring going on.:(

    We have, as a family, taken the decision to do what the home and the doctor have suggested and not to visit (as much). I'm thinking a short visit once a week surely won't hurt, but will discuss with the others first.

    Best wishes to all.
  16. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    It was because of my mother's childhood experiences, long months spent in hospital when families weren't allowed to visit, that I was so reluctant to leave her for more than a few days, staff never told me not to visit, only my brother told me I was visiting too often, (probably his guilt at not visiting enough). I don't know if she was upset after my visits, no-one mentioned it.

    Obviously the frequency of visitors must depend on distances, other commitments, health of the visitor etc.

    I dread to think how she must have been feeling on her last 2 days, stuck alone in that horrible place and with no sense of time, may have felt more like 2 weeks/months/years to her.


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