Glimpses of my Dad
There are things that they don’t tell you about Dementia…. Like the fact that a dementia home can decide they are refusing to keep a resident any longer. Really they aren’t supposed to do that. But it happens, and it happened to us, recently. Some of the behaviors of dementia are things a lot of people don’t talk about, but they apparently can make some homes throw up their hands and give up. When you’ve never dealt with this before there isn’t a book on what to then do with your parent, who you turn to for help, where you find a new home for them – and believe me at that point you are totally confused, upset, and in a lot of cases embarrassed. In our case we were dealing with a nurse that had an attitude also that didn’t really help.
For us the final straw was my father being dropped at an emergency room with the nurse at the dementia ward of the nursing home saying they refused to take him back. To top all this off they had included lots of things on his papers that made other nursing homes afraid to take him in. The social worker at the hospital tried to help by calling a few places, my mother called everywhere close, and my dad stayed in the hospital waiting for 6 days. Not knowing what to do we finally called nursing homes and dementia wards at a further distance away. We were lucky and found a place 1 1/2 hours away (and I have to say they definitely seem to know what they are doing a lot more than the first place!). Besides calling other nursing homes I tried other leads, we had been eliminated from the VA because all my father’s active duty was ACDUTRA which apparently disqualified him., so I started calling all the organizations with fancy names that included long term care in their names.
The Association of Long Term Care Nurses for Illinois (or something similar) was nice enough to point me to the Department of Public Health. It turns out, you are required to be given 30 days notice before being turned out of a nursing home and they have a group you can complain too. It may not come to anything, but at least I felt better having someone listen.
I just have my mothers stories but the new dementia ward my father is at seems to care more. The nurses are always seem to be with my dad when my mother visits, there haven’t been all the calls saying he has fallen when he escaped notice anymore. They put a bed alarm on him to make sure he doesn’t fall at night (this is something the first place said was illegal to do????)
The thing though that brought me to tears was when they brought my dad the phone and dialed my mother when he was concerned about her safety. It reminded me of the times when my mother and I would be somewhere and my dad would call to tell us that they were having a storm and we needed to find a place to stay so that we would be safe. – Forget the fact that he was in Illinois and we were in Arkansas at the time, he wanted to be sure we were safe. That was a few years ago and now having them show the care to help him call to ease his mind really made me feel that was the right place for him…. BUT I also was able to see a small glimpse of my dad again. Some of the old thought processes were there. It may not be a lot, but at least it’s something.