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Mum has just entered care - wrong home?

Huckleberry

Registered User
Nov 27, 2017
14
Hi there, this is my first post so not sure I’m in right place!
Mum is in later stages of dementia, she’s mobile but has lost all power of speech and is doubly incontinent. She has just gone into a care home after my Dad couldn’t cope anymore - he has done an amazing job but 5 years after diagnosis, the toll of caring is simply too much for his own health. Sadly, I live a few hundred miles away hence he has been largely coping on his own, day to day.
So the social worker suggested this care home, which is a dementia facility in East Yorkshire and mum has a bed in the extreme part of the unit. She appears more with it physically than other residents but cannot speak or communicate. I visited today (day 3 ) and she sobbed several times. The place itself seems OK, but I’m just not sure about the staff. They were few and far between, didn’t know which room she was in, let me go and try a couple to see if I could recognise her stuff (surprising). She seems so sad and unable to communicate her needs or wants and I’m not convinced these staff I met today would persevere in helping her communicate. She had a previous experience in respite care which wasn’t in such a nice environment but the staff were warm and caring. I really don’t know how we will know that she is ok ‘enough’? I just want to bring her home again, which also isn’t possible.
 

DesperateofDevon

Registered User
Jul 7, 2019
2,580
Hi there, this is my first post so not sure I’m in right place!
Mum is in later stages of dementia, she’s mobile but has lost all power of speech and is doubly incontinent. She has just gone into a care home after my Dad couldn’t cope anymore - he has done an amazing job but 5 years after diagnosis, the toll of caring is simply too much for his own health. Sadly, I live a few hundred miles away hence he has been largely coping on his own, day to day.
So the social worker suggested this care home, which is a dementia facility in East Yorkshire and mum has a bed in the extreme part of the unit. She appears more with it physically than other residents but cannot speak or communicate. I visited today (day 3 ) and she sobbed several times. The place itself seems OK, but I’m just not sure about the staff. They were few and far between, didn’t know which room she was in, let me go and try a couple to see if I could recognise her stuff (surprising). She seems so sad and unable to communicate her needs or wants and I’m not convinced these staff I met today would persevere in helping her communicate. She had a previous experience in respite care which wasn’t in such a nice environment but the staff were warm and caring. I really don’t know how we will know that she is ok ‘enough’? I just want to bring her home again, which also isn’t possible.
What an emotive visit you have had. I would suggest visiting at a different time to see if it was a one off, a staff issue or if a senior member of staff is able to explain care & settlement of PWD in the early days of residency.
 

Huckleberry

Registered User
Nov 27, 2017
14
What an emotive visit you have had. I would suggest visiting at a different time to see if it was a one off, a staff issue or if a senior member of staff is able to explain care & settlement of PWD in the early days of residency.
Thanks very much for your reply. That is good advice. It seems so difficult to come up with a workable solution out of care that accommodates everybody’s needs. I will go in again with fresh eyes tomorrow and do what you suggest. We really need it to work. But we can’t leave mum somewhere we wouldn’t want to spend time ourselves.
 

Delphie

Registered User
Dec 14, 2011
1,269
Give it a little bit more time. It may or may not be the right place for your mum but three days isn't enough time to tell (unless the place is out and out terrible).
 

Sarasa

Registered User
Apr 13, 2018
867
Hi @Huckleberry, it is a worry when a loved one goes into care as to whether you’ve made the right choice. As others have said three days isn’t long. Also weekends are often a bit strange, as senior staff may not be working. Hope it all settles down soon.
 

Bunpoots

Volunteer Host
Apr 1, 2016
3,822
Nottinghamshire
Welcome to Dementia Talking Point @Huckleberry

As the others have said 3 days isn’t long to decide if it’s the right place but I admit I’d be concerned about the the quality of the staff rather than the quality of the surroundings if it turns out not to be. Nothing’s ever perfect!
 

DesperateofDevon

Registered User
Jul 7, 2019
2,580
Thanks very much for your reply. That is good advice. It seems so difficult to come up with a workable solution out of care that accommodates everybody’s needs. I will go in again with fresh eyes tomorrow and do what you suggest. We really need it to work. But we can’t leave mum somewhere we wouldn’t want to spend time ourselves.
You said you “can’t leave mum somewhere we wouldn’t want to spend time”, I know what you mean but the normal parameters have gone out of the window. Finding the best version of what’s available is all you can do. Every CH will have its issues, & no place is perfect in the quicksand of dementia.

Staff holidays, sickness etc will all throw a spanner in the works.

Hopefully today goes better
 

Sirena

Registered User
Feb 27, 2018
2,075
I agree with you that I wouldn't want to leave my mother in a care home where I wouldn't want to spend time myself - I do have to visit her and feel reasonably comfortable with it. I am surprised no one could tell you which room she's in.

My mother's CH is a bit shabby but there is a welcoming atmosphere and the carers are cheerful, they never seem short staffed, and they know the residents as individuals which is the most important thing.

I would leave it a bit longer, visit at different times, and see how you feel about it.
 

jaymor

Volunteer Moderator
Jul 14, 2006
12,676
England
I agree with giving it a little longer. Your Mum needs to get to become familiar with her new surroundings and the staff. The staff also have to get used to your Mum and her ways and likes and of course dislikes. Staff change from day to day with their shifts so it takes time for knowledge to be gained with new residents. Of course shortage of staff is a different matter, that would be a concern.

Try to have a chat with the staff re staffing and ask them if there is anything you can do to help them get to know your Mum. It’s not an easy time for our loved ones and it’s certainly not any easy time for us as Carers.
 

Jale

Registered User
Jul 9, 2018
397
When Mum went into the nursing home we were asked to write down a fair bit of info about her - what did she like to be called, likes and dislikes, her family members and interests that she had, and probably a lot more that doesn't spring to mind at the moment but it was so the staff could get to know her more quickly than asking her (they would have stayed with her all day and not got an answer). Very often when we visit mum there seems to be few staff about, but in fact they are usually in the residents rooms doing personal care/feeding etc, perhaps weekend staff weren't around when your mum was admitted to the home? Mum was fairly shut down when she went into the home and it was at least a month (I think) before we saw a positive difference. Initially she was in bed all day, but now she allows the carers to take her into the lounge, but if she says no she wants to stay in bed then they do respect that. It is harder for your Mum is she cannot communicate, but hopefully once the staff get to know her better things might be easier. Give it a bit longer, as moving her now may not be the right thing for her and upset her more

Good luck x
 

Huckleberry

Registered User
Nov 27, 2017
14
Thank you! It really helps... Given I had a short space of time (weekend) to visit before I travelled home again, I think I was being a little unrealistic to expect all my concerns to be answered on the first weekend. Good advice from all your collective experience. My hunch still is that the staff team are not as skilled/trained/supported as much as I had hoped. I wonder if this is due to the extreme end of dementia profile of this group of residents (many seem medicated or just asleep with limited connection to reality). The care seems more about basic physical needs rather than engaging with clients. My mum doesn’t quite meet this profile yet but cannot speak properly so not so evident. She managed to tell me she hated it yesterday, and this differs from the previous experience she had of respite care where she managed without appearing sad the whole 10 days. She hardly stopped sobbing here and whilst I would expect a transition into care to be hard, I didn’t imagine she would react quite like this.
 

Sirena

Registered User
Feb 27, 2018
2,075
You do have the benefit of the respite care to compare against this experience, so you know your mother can be reasonably content in a care setting. It's possible this really isn't the right place for your mother, so if things haven't improved when you next visit I would start looking at other care homes to see what else is available. My mother's CH takes residents from mid to end stage, but most of the residents are in one of the lounges rather than being isolated in their rooms, so there is a feeling of companionship.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
11,375
South coast
I wondered why the place that she had respite was not suggested. Would she be able to move there, or is it too expensive?
If finances are not a problem then you could talk to the other care home about whether they would take her permanently.
 

Nandi

Registered User
Mar 20, 2018
28
Grimsby
Husband is now in third care home in a year.havent yet found the perfect one as he is still middle of the road walks a lot this one carers are very kind but he cannot find his room on his own.gets upset.do not know if I will ever find perfect care home we just maybe have to accept that this is the care home world was concerned that they didn't know what room follow your instincts they are right but remember nothing will be good enough to you for your mum .
D
 

Huckleberry

Registered User
Nov 27, 2017
14
Interesting to hear your experiences. Unfortunately mum wasn’t able to go into the place she received respite in as she allegedly slapped one other resident towards the end of her stay. Manager therefore feels not fair on settled residents (who would remember)or mum. Fair enough and do understand but a shame for us this time. Thinking of getting mums needs reviewed by go to see if her agitation can be improved by medicine. I’m wondering if this might mean she is able to go into a unit with less severe needs? So many ifs buts and maybes!
 

Clare70

New member
Apr 15, 2019
6
To be honest I don't think there are perfect homes out there, we are about to have to move my MIL again, this will be her 4th move in less than 2 years. We are now at the stage where the homes we like are refusing to take her as she is very high maintenance.

I would give it some time, for your mum to settle and for the home to get to know her. I think finding a member of staff you and your mum connect with is useful and keep in regular contact with them. Try not to feel like you are the only one going through this experience and talk about your own feelings with your own family.
 

Sirena

Registered User
Feb 27, 2018
2,075
Interesting to hear your experiences. Unfortunately mum wasn’t able to go into the place she received respite in as she allegedly slapped one other resident towards the end of her stay. Manager therefore feels not fair on settled residents (who would remember)or mum. Fair enough and do understand but a shame for us this time. Thinking of getting mums needs reviewed by go to see if her agitation can be improved by medicine. I’m wondering if this might mean she is able to go into a unit with less severe needs? So many ifs buts and maybes!
It's difficult to comment because it depends if it was a one off slap, or a pattern of behaviour. Some dementia CHs including my mother's have a tolerance for occasional one offs - my mother has slapped and been slapped, the residents sometimes just irritate each other a bit. They are separated and within half an hour they've forgotten about it. But another resident pushed my mother over before Christmas and because that was a part of a pattern of aggressive behaviour, the resident was asked to leave.
 

Mothers daughter

New member
Feb 4, 2020
8
I feel for you and understand your concerns. My Mum has Vascular Dementia and was living independently quite happily up until a couple of years ago when we started having carers for her to make sure she took her meds, washed, ate etc. She has recently had several visits to hospital and following the last episode the care company advised that they no longer had the capacity as she lived in a rural area. Mum was given a room in a local CH and I hated it. We couldn't get in or out without waiting for ages and all the residents were just sat in chairs asleep with little interaction from the staff. My Mum was always a social and chatty person and her dementia presents itself as a complete lack of short to medium term memory and I felt she wasn't getting the motivation she needed to integrate. Anyway.. I spoke to her social worker and expressed my concerns and asked if we could look at alternatives. We were actually sent a list of care homes in our area which had bed vacancies that we could go and view. Luckily for us we found a bed for her in a CH less than 5 miles away from us which is lovely. I don't think any CH is perfect due to staffing issues and the general problem that they are dealing with challenging behavior but I know that Mum has activities every day from singing to pamper days, has her hair done every week and most importantly I know she is as safe as she can be. She thinks she is in a hospital at the moment and that she is going home soon - but she doesn't remember where home is, bless her. Most importantly, she is relatively happy. And I have also noticed that several residents who were quite agitated when they first arrived, crying that they wanted to go home, now sit quite happily. So, maybe this home is not the one for your Mum - and you will know in your gut if it is or not, but there are options for you to choose something else that, lets face it, will never be good enough for her, but that you can feel reassured that it is the best choice for her needs.
Good luck X