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Old 02-08-2016, 02:30 PM
 
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Thanks everyone for your replies.

Mom does have dementia, so I'm glad I've been able to be here to deal with the doctors. I am taking vacation time for now.
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Old 02-08-2016, 02:59 PM
 
7,777 posts, read 4,341,871 times
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The second to the last time my mom was in the hospital, I stayed with her 24/7 for eight days/nights and literally didn't sleep at all any of that time. I was punch-drunk, almost unable to function, and practically sick myself by the end of that! So the last time, I took advantage of her being directly in front of the nurse's station in the ICU and went home to sleep ONE night; when I returned the next morning, she had taken a turn for the worse and never recovered. To this day, I blame myself. If your loved one is fragile, it's best to have someone -- family, friends, paid help --near to advocate for him or her around the clock. You'd think they'd be well cared for there, but... Not so much these days!
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Old 02-08-2016, 04:10 PM
 
Location: Tucson for awhile longer
8,872 posts, read 13,499,615 times
Reputation: 29030
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhureeKeeper View Post
How long do you usually visit? Especially if you know they will be hospitalized for several days, or perhaps a week.

My mom who is 85 is giving me major guilt that I'm not with her 24/7. My visits have been around 7 hours per day.

The aides at Mom's hospital are almost non existent (1 for 12 beds), so I try to help her with as many things as possible. I'm glad my timing has been such that I've been able to meet with her doctor, PT, OT, etc.
I'm the caregiver for my mother who is nearing 90. She has been hospitalized in several different facilities since she has lived with me. It's my experience today that hospitals EXPECT family members or friends to attend to a patient 24/7.

They simply do not provide the number of LPNs or aides that they used to have to attend to a patient's non-medical (or even semi-medical) needs. And if that means the patient gets sub-standard care ... too bad.

Patients can't feed themselves? Then you better be there to do it or your patient won't be eating. Patients fall out of bed? They could push the help button for hours before anyone will come assist them. Patients not attentive enough to find out what doctors, insurers, etc., have to say regarding their care? A family member especially needs to be there for that.

I know of several newer hospitals that are making all rooms private rooms and are putting pull-out couches or futons in the room for family members to stay overnight. When my father had open heart surgery a decade ago, we were told flat-out that if someone didn't stay in his room with him all night (and there was no bed), he would be restrained. They offered us a list of people who could be hired by the hour to do this patient-sitting if our family didn't or couldn't provide the service. Dad was in the hospital for weeks and on most days Mom stayed with him from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and I stayed from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. (I was self-employed at the time, so I worked in his room on my computer). When we were finally in a state of complete exhaustion, we consulted the list the hospital gave us and found someone on it who was in the church choir Dad was a member of. So we hired her to help us since he knew her. That was great, but it was expensive.

Sorry you have to experience this but it's not uncommon. My mother tried to guilt trip me, too, and it didn't seem to occur to her that my siblings were not willing to give equal time to visits. The first time she was hospitalized, I waited until she got better, then I had a long talk with her about what she could fairly expect from me when she was staying somewhere other than my house. She became a bit less demanding after that. For instance, she became a little more understanding that I simply could not just stop going to my job because she wanted me sitting at her bedside. And if I stayed with her all day, I simply could not stay there all night, too. I reminded her about the situation with Dad and she became a bit more reasonable.
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Old 02-08-2016, 04:18 PM
 
1,165 posts, read 652,354 times
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If your loved one cannot communicate and advocate for themselves, you have to have someone there to connect with the staff to get information, at least during the day and through dinner. If you miss the MD, PT or OT visit, you are out of luck. To me, having the constantly revolving staff of RNs and LPNs was a confusing nightmare for both my parents. Heaven help you if you are in the hospital over the weekend.

They now have hospitalist doctors who do not know the patient or their histories - I was stunned the patient's medical records were not immediately requested from their regular docs. As one poster said the meds can be totally screwed up.

The most upsetting problem was the lack of help in eating. Many elderly patients are too weak and cannot open the tabs on juice or food cups, nor get plastic wrap off utensils or dishes. They give patients food which needs to be cut up which they cannot do. The food is just removed with no concern that the patient has not eaten.

My sister saw this happen to the poor woman in the bed next to my mother, so we told her daughter during her nightly visit (she worked). We obviously could not feed another patient as much as we wanted to. The daughter was horrified and then took vacation time to stay with her mom.

The staff is cut to the bone. Bathroom calls would take 20 minutes or more. My experience was in a supposedly excellent university hospital (northern state). It was a real eye-opener and not in a good way.
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Old 02-08-2016, 04:48 PM
 
20,309 posts, read 16,477,627 times
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Don't feel bad, too what you can do. My mom was recently in the hospital, however I work full time and she's an hour away, so I was only there once or twice a week for a couple of hours. Her care was fine, with the exception of getting her laundry done in a timely manner once she was in Manor Care. My mom was able to tell me when she needed things though, and I was on the phone with nursing and social work a few times. Between the hospital and Manor Care she was a patient for almost 3 months, there is no way in heck I could sit there with her every day for 3 months, I'd have had to quit my job.

If you can go as much as others here, fine, that's awesome...but if it comes down to risking your financial security, job, or even just mental health, I say just like on a plane, you put the oxygen mask on yourself first.
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Old 02-08-2016, 04:53 PM
 
6,432 posts, read 3,048,388 times
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Hospital duty is the worst imo, because it is simply exhausting.


I usually approach it with the attitude that I can do anything for a few days, a week, a month.


Fortunately both of my parents still have there complete mental faculties, but I don't really trust them to get the straight story from doctors since they often don't ask the right questions.


My mother expects to have 24 hour company; my father is more reasonable. On the other hand, if a surgery is involved, my father tends to have more issues related to reactions/disorientation related to anesthesia. So sometimes my mother wants but does not need 24/7coverage and my father may not care, but needs 24/7 coverage.


It also depends why they are there. Are they limited in their ability to advocate for themselves, or are they there simply for observation because they had possible heart attack symptoms. Ditto are they in regular rooms or ICU. If they are in ICU, I feel less compelled to be their 24/7, because I know they are getting one on one care and that the nurses will call me if anything changes.


Then there are weird situations like my father in rehab after a knee replacement where he had a weird reaction to anesthesia that took him days to recover from and also he would not eat a single bite of the food they provided so we had no choice but to bring in three meals a day and push him to do his therapy.


Fortunately, I have a sister to help and we are both retired so for the most part we have been able to cover things. It was easier when the well parent could also help, but we have pretty much banned them from hospitals unless they are the patient after both contracted C Diff from one being hospitalized which was a nightmare.


There is no question in my mind that people get better care from both doctors and nurses when they know family members are there checking up on things. What I do not do is take over their jobs for them. I never volunteer to do nursing or aide duty and instead call them to do it.


Even when we provide 24/7 coverage, my sister and I both usually take a couple hours here and there to go home, shower, nap, eat or just decompress and go back.


If it ever gets to a point we cant cover between us, I would probably hire someone to fill in whatever we cant cover.
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Old 02-08-2016, 05:51 PM
 
16,992 posts, read 20,598,336 times
Reputation: 33956
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jukesgrrl View Post
I'm the caregiver for my mother who is nearing 90. She has been hospitalized in several different facilities since she has lived with me. It's my experience today that hospitals EXPECT family members or friends to attend to a patient 24/7.

They simply do not provide the number of LPNs or aides that they used to have to attend to a patient's non-medical (or even semi-medical) needs. And if that means the patient gets sub-standard care ... too bad.

Patients can't feed themselves? Then you better be there to do it or your patient won't be eating. Patients fall out of bed? They could push the help button for hours before anyone will come assist them. Patients not attentive enough to find out what doctors, insurers, etc., have to say regarding their care? A family member especially needs to be there for that.

I know of several newer hospitals that are making all rooms private rooms and are putting pull-out couches or futons in the room for family members to stay overnight. When my father had open heart surgery a decade ago, we were told flat-out that if someone didn't stay in his room with him all night (and there was no bed), he would be restrained. They offered us a list of people who could be hired by the hour to do this patient-sitting if our family didn't or couldn't provide the service. Dad was in the hospital for weeks and on most days Mom stayed with him from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and I stayed from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. (I was self-employed at the time, so I worked in his room on my computer). When we were finally in a state of complete exhaustion, we consulted the list the hospital gave us and found someone on it who was in the church choir Dad was a member of. So we hired her to help us since he knew her. That was great, but it was expensive.

Sorry you have to experience this but it's not uncommon. My mother tried to guilt trip me, too, and it didn't seem to occur to her that my siblings were not willing to give equal time to visits. The first time she was hospitalized, I waited until she got better, then I had a long talk with her about what she could fairly expect from me when she was staying somewhere other than my house. She became a bit less demanding after that. For instance, she became a little more understanding that I simply could not just stop going to my job because she wanted me sitting at her bedside. And if I stayed with her all day, I simply could not stay there all night, too. I reminded her about the situation with Dad and she became a bit more reasonable.

This is so true. My mother was in the ICU could not feed herself and I got there to find the lunch tray laying to the side. When I said something to the nurse her reply was "she had breakfast", it was 1pm.

I fed her and than the nurse told me(but apparently no one else) that she was going down for coffee.

Nursing supervisor happened to come around and saw me feeding my mother and asked where the nurse was, I said "oh she went down for coffee about 15 minutes ago", the NS said nothing to me but I could tell by her reaction, well let's just say this woman should never play poker.

This is what you're dealing with today. For every good, dedicated nurse you will find the other kind, those who went into it because they thought it would be a recession proof paycheck.

It doesn't take too long to find out what kind you're dealing with.

You have to check in and don't do it the same time everyday. Make your presence known.
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Old 02-08-2016, 07:14 PM
 
Location: New York Area
15,626 posts, read 6,167,226 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ERH View Post
When my mom was in the hospital for 3 weeks last January, either my dad, brother, or I stayed with her round the clock. However, I recognize that not everyone can do this for their loved ones, so I would tell you to manage it the best you can and try to mitigate her fears about being alone.
I think 7 hours a day is more than enough. There is a role for clergy and friends.
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Old 02-08-2016, 07:49 PM
 
25,826 posts, read 32,804,078 times
Reputation: 31770
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhureeKeeper View Post
How long do you usually visit? Especially if you know they will be hospitalized for several days, or perhaps a week.

My mom who is 85 is giving me major guilt that I'm not with her 24/7. My visits have been around 7 hours per day.

The aides at Mom's hospital are almost non existent (1 for 12 beds), so I try to help her with as many things as possible. I'm glad my timing has been such that I've been able to meet with her doctor, PT, OT, etc.
I was at the hospital for several hours when my mom (84) had her surgery - she had a spinal fusion, and then complications (a dural leak) required a 2nd surgery. I spent many hours there, but certainly not 24/7. I work full time, and a BF, and I'm one of those people that has to work out a couple times a week or I go insane. So that first week was seriously hell, but I managed. I had to take most of that first week off, and my sister came down on the weekend to help out. My mom spent about 80 days in the hospital, total. And given that the hospital is about 45 minutes from my office, with the worst imaginable rush-hour traffic, it was not a trip that I liked making. After things settled down, I only made the trip one weeknight, and then was there for several hours on either Saturday or Sunday. My mom is excellent at the guilt trip stuff, but I didn't let that make me do anything more than was reasonable. My dad wound up so effing stressed out (he is 89 with a heart condition) that he wound up in the same hospital for 3 nights. So I had one parent on one floor and the other on another floor. NOT fun, I can tell you.

7 hours a day is not something I could do for very long. If you don't work, then I guess it's easier to manage. My mom has been in the rehab since Dec 1st, and now when I go, I am there only a couple of hours or less. She will be going home soon, and she is an absolutely miserable person to be around, so I don't feel guilty at all. Hopefully your mom is much nicer than mine!
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Old 02-08-2016, 07:52 PM
 
25,826 posts, read 32,804,078 times
Reputation: 31770
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jukesgrrl View Post
I'm the caregiver for my mother who is nearing 90. She has been hospitalized in several different facilities since she has lived with me. It's my experience today that hospitals EXPECT family members or friends to attend to a patient 24/7.
Oh HELL no they don't. Maybe the hospitals where you are, but that is NOT the case here.
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