Hospital Stay - Any advice?

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Linda M, Oct 23, 2004.

  1. Linda M

    Linda M Registered User

    Oct 2, 2004
    17
    Birmingham
    Hi All,

    I posted a couple of weeks ago about my aunt who has early dementia and since then I have been on holiday (Scotland was cold but lovely!) which gave me much needed rest, I am glad to say.

    So now I'm back and was rather dismayed to discover that no one else from my family bothered to visit my aunt in hospital while I was away (she has been there three weeks now since a fall).

    More frustratingly, I spoke to the care manager this week who advised that they can't even give me a date when my Aunt could come home because they can't get any carers to provide the 4 times a day help she has been assessed as needing.

    So that was a bit disappointing but my partner and I went to visit her on Tuesday and were pleasantly surprised to see she seemed not too bad, not too confused and just really wanting to come home. She seemed to have a bit of energy about her.

    Went yesterday and found her with the biggest black eye I have ever seen (she looked like she had been beaten up). Nurse reassured me that it looked worse than it is but she had got up in the night and they found her lying in the bathroom. My aunt remembers nothing of this. It's her third fall in three weeks and we came away more worried because we know that now (as opposed to 3 weeks ago) she is eating and drinking, taking pills and has put on a little weight. She was the most confused I had seen her last night (trying to get her to put some clothing in a bag was 20 minutes of comic farce!). Like one of the other posts I read today - I seem to veer from thinking I have imagined all this and she is really not too bad to being really concerned about what happens next time she falls.

    My intention at the start of this post was to ask - anyone have experience of how to cope with what is effectively a case of bed blocking? i.e. physically the hospital say she can go home, social services say yes, once they get care but can't say when and one very frustrated aunt who just keeps asking me why she can't go home. Also - how long realistically could this go on? I have something in my head about six weeks being a limit on intermediate care but may have picked that up incorrectly from what info I have read.

    Best wishes to all
     
  2. Jude

    Jude Registered User

    Dear Linda,

    Welcome back and great to know that you had a lovely holiday.

    The number of reports of elderly people having falls in hospitals seems to be increasing at an alarming rate, so I can well imagine that you want your Aunt home and safe as soon as possible.

    I think this might be a case of you having to hassle the SS until they actually get some carers for the requisite number of hours at home. Are you also registered with Crossroads and Age Concern? They may be able to help out as well.

    Best wishes,

    Jude
     
  3. Linda M

    Linda M Registered User

    Oct 2, 2004
    17
    Birmingham
    Hi Jude,

    Thanks for the advice. My cousin has done a bit of hassling Social Services and told them that her remaining in hospital is not helping the situation. We're hoping to get some news tomorrow which might take us a step forward so fingers crossed!

    Linda
     
  4. gemini

    gemini Registered User

    Sep 8, 2003
    69
    Nottingham
    Hi Linda

    Glad you had a nice holiday... but isn't it annoying to learn that your concerns have not been followed up by other family members in your absence???

    My mum in law is also in early stages of dementia, and herself suffered a nasty fall In Jan 2003. She ended up in hospital, where the doctors concluded that although her injuries looked horrific, they were in fact fairly minor. They were infact more concerned with her mental health. So much so that they concluded she was suffering from 'some form of dementia'.
    They then sort fit to discharge her without checking if she had money to pay for the Taxi, or keys to her house.... She had neither!!!! Thankfully her neighbours came to her rescue. But doesn't it just go to show that incompetance can work at both extremes.

    Hope everything works out

    Love
    Gemini
     
  5. storm

    storm Registered User

    Aug 10, 2004
    269
    notts
    Dear Linda,I know you must want your Aunt home but i would be careful about making sure that all the care plans are in place because i found that once they are at home it is alot harder to get these services in place plus i found that mum became more confused onceshe came home probably because she was more isolated. storm
     
  6. Brenda

    Brenda Registered User

    Jul 21, 2004
    15
    Devon
    My Mother had a hip replacement op in May and ended up in hospital for almost 7 weeks. She bed blocked in the first one because they couldn't find a bed for her to go to for respite, Eventually after almost 3 weeks they found a respite place in the local hospital but the ward was a pretty horrendous place and only served to show us what will no doubt happen to Mum when her dementia worsens. We are still battling on with social services as although they got her care twice a day she took a dislke to the evening carer and at one point refused to let her in. Last week Mum's garage door was knocked off it's runners by a car and as the carer was the only visitor we have to draw our own conclusions also the carer then refused to come again. We seem to have had so many problems with carers not turning up saying Mum was out when she was in. Not phoning me when they can't get hold of her. We had to get rid of the first agency because of problems of not turning up, not checking her medication so that she overdosed the first week home. Then last week the ss were trying to remove the evening care altogether even though Mum's GP has said that she needs it . Sorry to be so negative but we have had a really bad week and now we have to travel 20 miles every evening to do the evening shift until we can get a new carer and this on top of all the other fun things you have to do as a carer. Perhaps it will help to write about it.
     
  7. Jude

    Jude Registered User

    Dear Brenda,

    I do hope you can find a replacement carer asap. It is not an easy task I know, since they are so scarce and good carers are worth their weight in gold.

    Good luck to both you and Linda.

    Jude
     
  8. Linda M

    Linda M Registered User

    Oct 2, 2004
    17
    Birmingham
    I understand well the frustration, Brenda. We've had a difficult week too and it does help to be able to write it down here. After us pushing SS to look at my aunt's case, they suddenly decided on Tuesday night she could go home on Wednesday. My cousin called me late on Tuesday and neither of us could be there at such short notice (we both work full time) so the agreement was that if it could be Thursday my cousin could take her home and they would have an emergency team in place until her carers start on 8th November.

    Discovered to my horror that they sent her home anyway on Wednesday - they had given her some food and a carer popped into check she had taken her pills (this appeared to be someone saying 'have you taken your pills' my aunt replying 'yes' and me discovering the next day that her pills have been changed - she was still taking the old ones).

    From a practical point of view there was: no heating on, no cooker working and no food - all because we had been given less than 24 hrs notice she was going home and because the only people in the family trying to help have full time jobs. SS knew this and had been told we wanted to be there the day she came home.

    As an emergency measure my mum is travelling down from Scotland tomorrow to stay for a week and trying to sort out as much as possible during that week. i.e. benefits, getting food in place and trying to get my aunt into some kind of routine. Then the carers start on the 8th and we'll have to try and monitor if it works.

    I saw my aunt last night and I came away feeling not good about it all. She is delighted she is home but a) doesn't seem to understand why the gas cooker has been disconnected despite it being explained to her several times b) doesn't understand new pills means she takes the ones sent home with her, not the mass stack of them hidden in a bag in her bedroom and c) she doesn't understand why the carers are there at all because, of course, there is nothing wrong with her ...

    The last straw came when my other aunt (her sister) called me to say 'she is home and she is fine'. And did I want any money for petrol since I've been running backwards and forwards for the past month?

    I bit my tongue (trying to remember respect for elders and all that) but I really wanted to say ... don't throw money at it, do something positive to help your sister, like send her a letter, offer to spend a few days with her, SOMETHING.

    Apologies- it has been a bad week and although I know I've done nothing wrong I feel as if I let my aunt down a bit because the situation I really wanted to avoid (her sent home without any family to help her through this time) happened anyway.
     
  9. Jude

    Jude Registered User

    Dear Linda,

    I just got so angry reading your post! How can the SS be so utterly incompetent? They seem to have a vested interest in causing the maximum amount of mayhem with any private arrangements.

    The last and only time that they had anything to do with my parents, they sent my mother off to respite at my father's request, while I was overseas, knowing full well that both my parents have AD. The upshot of this was that my mother had a stroke caused by her anxiety of being parted from my father - and my father spent a week in tears. It took months for them both to recover. Actually, my mother hasn't recovered from this, because she now cannot bear to have my father out of her sight for even a few minutes and creates a scene when he has to go to the toilet alone.

    Sending your Aunt home to a cold house with no cooking facilities and nobody to care full time for her is nothing short of lunacy.

    In your situation, I would be writing an article for the newpapers. This sort of rubbish has to be stopped.

    Jude
     
  10. Brenda

    Brenda Registered User

    Jul 21, 2004
    15
    Devon
    Hi
    thanks Linda and Jude
    it does help to let off steam but the whole situation gets so frustrating. It is bad enough trying to care for someone with dementia when all the other things that really should be in place to help just seem to cause more problems. Mum also doesn't understand the need for carers coming in as she says she is getting better. Perhaps in the case of AD ignorance on the part of the sufferer is bliss. Linda try not to beat yourself up about the situation it doesn't help, I keep telling myself this but it is difficult at times especially if you are emotionally attached to the person who is suffering.
     
  11. Jude

    Jude Registered User

    Dear Brenda and Linda,

    In the light of your posts and Stephen Ladyman's letter today, it seems like we are all constantly beating our heads up against a brick wall.

    Jude
     
  12. Linda M

    Linda M Registered User

    Oct 2, 2004
    17
    Birmingham
    Thanks for the support. It really does help.

    Funnily enough Jude, I spoke to the local Age Concern chap yesterday and he was really angry about what SS did and asked me to send him a letter to that effect as he says it may help strengthen their case locally, as he has heard of a lot of similar cases recently. I said I would - to be honest I can still scarcely believe what they did.

    I feel like I say to them time and time again - 'but she has dementia' and they just say - 'she'll be ok' and think that by leaving her care pack on the table she'll read it and understand. My aunt actually said - 'oh it says here dementia' (this was once I'd asked to look at the pack as she ignored it) - but she didn't appear to understand what that meant. I agree - sometimes ignorance is bliss.

    What I forgot to say in my previous posts was that when I saw her on Monday she had TWO black eyes (had one when I had been a couple of days before). She looks like one of those pensioners you see on TV who has been mugged.
     
  13. Chesca

    Chesca Guest

    Dear Linda and Brenda

    I've just read through this entire post with mouth open in astonishment. I don't know about lunacy, it's more like criminal neglect and somebody in Social Services has to answer the serious questions. God, to think I bitch about what has gone on around here.

    And two black eyes? How and why? And please don't tell me the explanation was a fall out of bed. I am really angry at the cruelty being inflicted on your loved ones and yourselves.

    What was Ladyman saying about his performance indicators and finance for carers and their charges...........I know where I'd like to target my indicators.

    As stressed out as you must be feeling, hope you are able follow the advice of Age Concern and get these incidents down on paper; I know, like you haven't got enough to do.

    This is just another unnecessary little piece of hell made possible by everybody wanting to pass the buck. It's unfair and it's cruel and stinks of professional negligence.

    Grrrr
    Chesca
     
  14. Jude

    Jude Registered User

    Dear Linda,

    Do pursue this! Write to Age Concern and also the local media. Chesca is correct - it is total negligence. The SS have been incredibly lucky that your Aunt did not have a fall at home alone.

    Unfortunately this is symptomatic of the whole 'dis-service' for elderly people. Far better to spend funds on a new computer system than provide care where essential.

    Go for it!

    Jude
     
  15. Sheila

    Sheila Registered User

    Oct 23, 2003
    2,259
    West Sussex
    Dear Linda, do keep a diary of all that is happening, it will strengthen your case if you have to make a complaint, it will also be useful should you wish to inform Age Concern, Alz Society etc. so that it can become part of any documented case of all that is wrong with dementia care. I intend to do this with all the notes I made of my Mum's last stay in hospital and how it eventually lead to her demise. Hope things are getting sorted for you, 20 miles a night is no joke, love She XX
     
  16. Linda M

    Linda M Registered User

    Oct 2, 2004
    17
    Birmingham
    Hi,

    Thanks for all your support. Yesterday my mum came down from Scotland to spend a week with my aunt and so we're having these daft little conversations on the phone where I have to ask all the questions so my mum can tell me what's going on without my aunt thinking we are talking about her!

    It helps so much to have my mum here as it does to have this board because it helps me see that this is really happening to my aunt.

    My mum came on the phone tonight and said my aunt had just asked her if she had ever stayed overnight at her house before (my mum comes down every year to see my aunt!). It's those little comments I find which really make you stop and think - what is going on here?

    Yesterday when I took my mum to my aunt's house, we knocked the door - no answer. Then my aunt appeared at the bedroom window saying she had been locked in the house by the carer. Then she went and got her own door keys once I told her where they were, passed them out the window to me and we got in, because my aunt couldn't remember how to open the door.

    Ironically in our family my partner has a new grandchild and I can't help but compare the two - this new life seeing everything for the first time and my aunt , having all she knows, ebb away.
     

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