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EMI Home

It’s  been months since I updated this blog.

There comes a point where it’s all so distressing, writing it down just makes you have to go through it all twice.

A mere couple of weeks after I had written the last post, the Rest Home Manager approached me saying she wanted us to move Mum as she didn’t feel her staff were giving Mum the care she required.  I was really upset and annoyed because she had assured me that could cope with Mum’s illness and had even moved her to a better room.

I talked to Social Services who were also not best pleased as the decision by the Rest Home had been completely reversed.  However the bottom line was that we would have to start looking for an EMI Home once again, a task we really didn’t relish.

The next few weeks were incredibly difficult as we did the rounds of the Homes again.  Jean, Mark and I were starting to bicker as we couldn’t agree on anything and the strain was really beginning to tell.  Just when we thought we had things sorted, it had all fallen apart again.

It took a while but we eventually came to a compromise with a Home which seemed that it would be suitable for Mum even though we all had various reservations for different reasons.  We moved Mum in on the 15th May and it wasn’t actually as difficult as we thought.  As usual, I think we were suffering more than Mum!

It was a big shock to the system when we first started visiting Mum in the new Home.  As the old Home was just a Rest Home for the Elderly, some residents spent most of their time in their rooms so the lounge was usually fairly empty plus there was a quiet lounge we could use where we usually managed to have a private visit.  The new Home has two lounges but they are pretty full as there are 20 residents all with dementia and obviously they are not well enough to stay in their rooms all day. We can take Mum to her room but its on the lower ground floor so we have a few steps to negotiate which is becoming exceedingly tricky even with help.  Or we can take her to the dining room but that is only accessible by lift for Mum.  There is a lovely garden and we got into the habit of taking her out there but the last few weeks have actually been too hot for her to be outside.  I don’t expect that will last long though!

Her balance and spacial awareness continues to deteriorate.  She has had several falls, one of which resulted in a fractured wrist.  The hospital put a cast on her arm and she managed to pick it off.  They then put a stronger cast on and she managed to wriggle her arm out of it.  She now has a velcro splint which we can at least put back on when she takes it off.

So that is where we are up to at present.  The Home is not too far away for visiting.  We are visiting once a day between us.  As before, sometimes it’s a good visit…..sometimes not.  She often chatters away but is no longer able to make any sense at all.  Nor can she seem to understand when you speak to her.  She often gets distracted by the TV just like she used to do at home.  She will just start reading words from the TV to make conversation.   She still recognises her family…..just!  The staff say she’s settled in well so I guess we have to accept that.  She’s sleeping and eating OK.  She has a pressure mat both on her bed and her chair so the staff can be there quickly when she stands in case she falls again.

Several weeks ago, her false teeth went missing.  The staff hunted high and low but they weren’t to be found.  We have heard that this sort of thing happens pretty regularly in Homes, hearing aids and teeth being particularly prone to disappearing.  Luckily Mum’s lovely Dentist who she has been with for years agreed to visit her to take the moulds for some new teeth.  She should get those later this week.  It has been bad enough seeing Mum not looking her usual well-groomed self without having her toothless as well!

And so it goes on………

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2013 in Diary

 

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Respite!

10 days ago Mum had 2 falls in one day.  I came in at lunchtime and she was sitting on the bedroom floor, though apparently uninjured.  I couldn’t get her back on her feet so rang my sister to help but we still couldn’t get her up between us.  At one point she went quite pale and breathless so I rang an ambulance.  We laid Mum on the floor with pillows under her and a blanket over her….and there she spent the afternoon.  The ambulance took 5 hours to arrive!  I rang several times and it was always the same response.  There were higher priority emergencies apparently.

We managed to get her up before the ambulance arrived.  My niece came round and between the 3 of us, we got Mum up again but she was so unsteady on her feet, I was really concerned.  When the paramedics arrived, they gave her the once over but she was okay so they apologised for the delay and left.

She was very strange during the evening – forgot how to go to the bathroom and even when I helped her there, she couldn’t remember how to go to the toilet.  I got her to bed okay and went myself at the same time.

I was awakened at midnight as I heard her door closely followed by the bathroom door shutting.  I flew out of bed but was too late.  I heard a crash and a moan, and went into the bathroom (I removed the lock some months ago).  She’d fallen off the toilet and once again there was no chance of getting her back on her feet.  Maybe if she was a little frail lady it would be possible but Mum is ‘to put it politely’ rather a plump lady!

I rang my sister who came straight round and also rang an ambulance.  This time they were here within half an hour.

To cut a long story (and a long night!) short, my brother and I spent virtually all night in A&E with Mum and they finally told us that she had a water infection – that was why she was so unsteady on her feet and much more confused that usual.

Mark and I brought Mum home in the morning and I tried to get her to go to bed but she really didn’t want to.  I was almost comatose with lack of sleep and I just couldn’t stop crying.  I didn’t dare go to bed as I thought she might fall again if she got up.  I eventually threw myself on the mercy of Social Services.  I started crying as soon as they answered the phone so I guess they realised I had reached breaking point.

They suggested a few weeks respite in order to get her well again and give me a break.  I’d like to say that I hesitated but in actual fact I jumped at the chance.  It shows that Social Services can move quickly when they have to……..we had her visited by the Rest Home Manager, assessed and in there by teatime that day!

My sister couldn’t face taking Mum to the Rest Home so Mark and I took her in the car.  We told her that she was going to a convalescent type Home to assess her and build up her strength.  All the staff seemed very kind but we were really nervous about leaving her, particularly as the only room available was on the first floor and as the Home didn’t specialise in dementia, we did have anxieties about what would happen if she got up in the night.  Her room was accessed by a lift with the help of staff but she wasn’t too far away from stairs both down and up.

She was admitted on the Thursday evening and when we visited her on the Friday evening, Jean and I both came out crying.  I think it was just the shock of seeing our Mum actually in a Rest Home with all the other residents; she just didn’t seem to belong there – although we knew deep down that she did!   Also, she seemed really unkempt and when I went up to her room, her case hadn’t even been unpacked.  I had offered to do it but had been reassured that the staff would see to it.

By the Monday, we were really upset.  I didn’t feel that Mum had even had a wash or had her teeth brushed.  I complained to the Manager and by our next visit things had improved greatly.  She had been bathed and had her hair done and certainly looked more like her old self.  Also, her antibiotics worked fairly quickly and she was walking better and slightly less confused.

However, with the help of Social Services, the Day Centre, the GP and my family, we made the momentous decision not to take Mum home again.  It was incredibly hard…..every time we visited we just wanted to bundle her in the car and bring her back.  The bottom line is that I just can’t carry on as I have been doing…..it’s just too hard!  I am bone weary both physically and mentally and just don’t feel I can cope any more.

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2013 in Diary

 

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A & E!

Well I suppose it had to happen sometime.  Last night Mum got up for the bathroom in the night and had a fall.  I was woken by a crash and heard her calling out for me.  I think she must just have lost her balance in the bathroom and she’d hit her head on the tiles.  I examined the cut on the back of her head and managed to stop the bleeding but the problem was I couldn’t get her back up on her feet.

I rang the Out-of-hours doctor and was told to call an ambulance – normal protocol for the elderly apparently.  The paramedics got her up and took her to the local hospital while I followed in my car.  I rang Jean who wanted to come with me but I persuaded her that it was pointless both of us going, especially as she had work the next day.

I arrived at hospital around 4 a.m. and Mum was in a cubicle waiting for the doctor.  I have to say, despite it being very busy in A&E, the treatment was first-class.  She had every test under the sun and regular BP and temp checks.  I presumed that she would just need the wound glueing as the bleeding had stopped but the doctor gave her three stitches.  He said he wanted her to stay overnight in the observation ward just to keep an eye on her for the next few hours but we had to wait until 8 a.m. before a cubicle became available.

I couldn’t believe that Mum managed to stay awake all this time, although she was really confused and made very little sense.  I kept suggesting that she put her head back and had a nap but she almost seemed to be in a trance.

When we got into the Observation ward, they put her in a chair although I felt she should really try and have a sleep. It may be that the staff wanted her to stay awake.  A nurse asked if she wanted breakfast and she said “Well, I only drink coffee and I like toast for breakfast,”  as though she was in a hotel!

I left Mum there (which I hated) and came home to get some rest, then Jean and her daughter went to collect her later in the afternoon when all the tests had come back.  Everything checked out okay which was a relief.  It was interesting that the Staff Nurse told me that she shouldn’t really be on sleeping tablets as they could make her more liable to fall in the night.  She asked me to consult our GP about this which is ironic as it was the GP who had prescribed the sleeping pills.  Hmmm!

One good thing that’s come out of this is that we’ve been referred back to Social Services, to the Carers’ Centre, to the Fall Clinic and to the OT Dept.  Perhaps there is some more help available.

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2012 in Diary

 

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