Is it reasonable to expect a diagnosis?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by looviloo, May 9, 2015.

  1. looviloo

    looviloo Registered User

    May 3, 2015
    463
    Female
    Cheshire
    I recently posted about my 86-yr-old father who had a serious fall 12 days ago, breaking his shoulder. He's had memory problems for years now, and has developed difficulty with his speech/orientation etc. We saw his GP twice before Christmas, plus I'd sent a letter expressing concerns but nothing was done except a short memory test (scored 22/30 and confirmed disorientation).

    After the fall, he spent several days in hospital and became confused to the point of delerium (with hallucinations). He was treated for dehydration and has since recovered most of his mental faculties, but his physical injuries will take longer. He's now in a care home temporarily, and we are in contact with a (third!) social worker. He's obviously not happy about this and desperate to get home again.

    My question is: after everything that's happened and the concerns that we've had (and registered at the hospital too), is it unreasonable to expect some kind of diagnosis? It feels like we're wading through treacle in all respects and although we're doing our best, getting a straight answer about anything is difficult.

    Our next step is to decide if he's ok to go home with a care package, or if his needs are great enough for sheltered/assisted living, or even full time care. We want to do what's best for him. Prior to all this, we'd spoken with him numerous times about visiting an assisted living facility and he'd agreed, although he is prone to constantly changing his mind depending on his mood and how well he's feeling. Yesterday for instance, you would never have known there were any problems, as he was logical and focused and his speech slightly improved!

    We're so frustrated and confused ourselves... any advice welcome! Thanks :)
     
  2. Hi,

    yes I think it is perfectly reasonable to ask for him to be referred to a memory clinic...medication can significantly slow down the rate of deterioration if he is found to have alzheimer's.

    If he really does want to go home and you feel that it is appropriate to try with a support package then the more informed you are the better.

    He will need a fairly long period of physio and convalescence after such a serious injury. Throughout this time the care home need to be monitoring him and telling you what he is able to do for himself without prompting to help you make a judgment on how likely he will manage at home.

    Further down the line, it is usually ok to request the care home hold his bed whilst a person goes home for a weekend to see how they manage...an occupational therapist will need to be involved prior to this to see if any adaptations or equipment would need to be made first.

    It does sound though as though he may need alternative accommodation already so maybe this is the opportunity to initiate that.

    A diagnosis is an important part of establishing his needs and helping you plan, as well as helping him remain as well as possible.

    Good luck
     
  3. looviloo

    looviloo Registered User

    May 3, 2015
    463
    Female
    Cheshire
    #3 looviloo, May 10, 2015
    Last edited: May 10, 2015
    Thanks so much for your reply, you've reassured me that we're on the right track. We're very unsure about sending dad home with a care package so soon after his fall, and with his injuries, but we had to fight our corner very hard and it's been extremely draining. I don't like that he's in a home even if it is temporarily, but it is the best for him at the moment, and the care workers there seem to agree. Plus, when I saw him yesterday he seemed to have settled quite a lot and was already adjusting to the place :).

    It's useful to know that we can request for the bed to be held, and I'll keep that in mind. I worry about moving dad around too much though, it confuses him and makes him agitated. Which is why I want a diagnosis of some sort, so we can make an informed decision.

    I'm SO frustrated that his GP ignored my concerns at the end of last year... I tried very hard to get dad referred to the memory clinic at the time. I've since spoken to another GP at the same practice, after dad's recent fall, and got a similarly unconcerned response. I'm astounded at their lack of compassion for one of their most elderly patients!!!
     

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