Update on visit to dad in care home Scotland.

SMBeach

Registered User
Apr 19, 2020
291
0
Well. When I visited dad I was expecting tears of joy. On leaving to return to Kent after just 4 days I was expecting tears of sadness and heightened emotion. Instead I got a happy to see me smile when I arrived and an understanding goodbye when I left. Dad was in fact very settled. He refers to the care home (or at least his bedroom) as his home now and doesn’t seem to have any memory of his previous home, or its contents etc so I was able to concentrate on the here and now and not worry about dad getting upset that he’s not at home or that his house is sold. No awkward questions to deal with.

Dad talked about how good this place was and how they had a good set up to ‘move things forward’. He uses that phrase a lot so I assume he thinks this is just a step towards something else, like a cure. I’m not sure. Equally he had moments where he’d not make much sense but seemed to be criticising the home and residents/staff so there was some balance in his description of his life there. lol

I had initially enquired about dad being moved to the residential floor where he might have better more meaningful conversations with the men he’s often mixed with during activities. I was told during review by the lead nurse who is also deputy manager that there is in fact someone in residential who ideally needs to move downstairs into the dementia unit and was asked by the manager that perhaps dad could swap places since I’d made that enquiry. The lead nurse however said that she didn’t feel it was appropriate to move dad and she really didn’t like moving dementia residents as it caused confusion but also explained that dad was great ‘in the moment’. Ie: yes he could have good conversation but it wasn’t long lasting and did get extremely confused, all of which I agreed with. She explained that some of the residents upstairs were very quick to complain and could be quite cruel by ‘avoiding’ anyone who stuck out and went on to tell me how they’d started removing a chair from their dining table so the lady who always sat with them couldn’t any more as her dementia started to get worse. She didn’t want that for dad. I totally understood that.
She informed me that dad did something that morning that he’d never done before. During breakfast in the dining room he needed to wee. So he dropped his trousers and wee’d against the wall in front of everyone. She said if he’d done that on the other floor the residents would be making a big fuss and complaining and of course so would their relatives. Whereas on the dementia floor, those who did notice just forgot. As did dad. He has no memory of doing it. No embarrassment. Nobody complaining and avoiding him.

They had to wash his slippers. One thing I found strange was they said he’d started wetting the bed through the night. They check on him every 2 hrs but don’t like to do that through the night so dad isn’t disturbed by them opening the door. They have a sensor turned on in the evening which alerts them when dad has gotten out of bed to use the loo so they can go to help. But it seems he was just doing it in bed and getting wet. They gave him a new mattress. When I asked why they didn’t use mattress protectors nurse explained the protectors are built into the mattress and said it’s about comfort. Some residents feel uncomfortable with a protector on the mattress. I found that a bit odd as surely they can’t change the mattress every time.

There were a lot of new faces (staff) this time and I get the impression they have a high turnover. Finding staff can be tricky at times as they are either in someone’s room or in the lounge where they are not supposed to leave residents unattended. Even so, I do wish there were more visible staff at the ready when looking for them. I know there’s a shortage of carers nationwide but I expected they’d have more given the fees paid. Ie attract staff by offering a higher than average wage but perhaps it’s just an area no one wants to work in any more. ? I don’t actually know the ration of staff to residents. I keep forgetting to ask and I guess they could just make it up. I need to look into this.

All in all I felt dad was the most settled I’ve seen him in years. He had enough happening to distract him. No signs of depression although I’m learning not to remind him he has Alzheimer’s and forgetting is a normal part of that. I think I’m explaining and reassuring him it’s normal to forget etc but in fact it seems to upset him. As though he’s hearing it for the first time and when I tell him this he just says that means anyone can make up anything about him and tell lies about him and just say it’s because he doesn’t remember then says he’s finished if that’s the case. So I won’t be saying that again. Instead we enjoyed watching tv about gardening designs etc, having a laugh, putting photos into an album etc.

My younger brother drive 8hrs to visit. He normally lives the other side of the world but been working in the U.K. on contracts here and there. The last time my brother visited dad at his home resulted in a big argument between them a couple of years ago and hadn’t seen him since. They were fine together. I’m not sure if dad 100% recognised him as he’s put on so much weight. Again, no heightened emotion on seeing him. Just a relaxed hug.

All in all, I came away feeling very very different from how I felt last time, when dad was just admitted. Staff tell me he’s a very obliging man who just wanted to do what was asked of him and joined in every single activity, enjoying the activities he didn’t think he would enjoy. Although the option for dad to move down south will always be there, I really dont see any point. Dad acted as if seeing me was something that happened regularly already. He didn’t seem to realise we hadn’t seen each other in a couple of months. And I’m happy with the care he’s getting. The staffing issue bothers me somewhat. I feel there should be highly visible staff at all times but maybe that’s just the way it would be in any care home. I don’t know.
 

Banjomansmate

Registered User
Jan 13, 2019
5,456
0
Dorset
That sounds like a good and worthwhile visit. Hopefully it has eased most of your concerns, especially about being so far away.
Good to hear that Dad has settled in well.
 

sdmhred

Registered User
Jan 26, 2022
2,171
0
Surrey
I’m so pleased for you and your Dad @SMBeach

After your initial worries it sounds like he is in the right place - he seems settled and the staff have got to know him and his needs well 😀😀 Their attitude to the toileting incident sounds like they are empathic and understanding. I’ve not seen that one yet!

It does sound like the staffing might be on the low side…..there are usually visible carers available in the homes mum has been in. There are periods of time however when 1 is in the lounge and all the others are doing personal care with residents so it can be quiet at this time.

The mattresses is bizarre tho - mum has always had the mattresses that are waterproof so can be wiped down- I would have thought that’s standard when incontinence is expected 🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️
 

Sarasa

Volunteer Host
Apr 13, 2018
7,272
0
Nottinghamshire
I'm so glad to hear that your dad has settled. The staff turnover might be high, but it sounds that, on the whole, the staff are caring and on the ball.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
25,067
0
South coast
That sounds good
Your dad is settled, there were no fireworks when you visited, he is joining in the activities, the staff sound caring and although nowhere is perfect, that sounds pretty good to me
xx
 

DeeCee7

Registered User
Oct 13, 2023
280
0
So pleased to read your report @SMBeach . It sounds like your visit went very well, and I am sure your journey home on the train was more relaxed than on the way up. It must be a huge comfort to know that your Dad is settled and joining in activities, and that the staff have explained their valid reasons for keeping him on the floor he’s on. Nowhere’s perfect, but this place sounds a good fit for your Dad’s needs. It must also have been lovely to have some family time along with your brother without any conflicts. I hope others, who are wobbling about their loved ones going into care, read your story and take heart.