A year ago on 26 June 2015, I started writing my blog, sharing my experiences looking after my Ma. This week, on Monday, I moved my Ma into a nursing home after caring for her full-time since September. Full-time care became necessary after three anaesthetics in five months left her with delirium which I was told was dementia and that she would never be the same. They were partially right. After five months of delirium she got better although she was never the same after. And after getting better the confusion and hallucinations started to progress. So much so that I couldn’t leave her for more than an hour at a time. Prior to this I worked full-time and cared for her.
I was told aged care moves fast. I received a call on Thursday saying there was a room for Ma at her preferred nursing home, aka the house on the hill. I picked the paperwork up that afternoon. After nearly smothering under the pile of forms I managed to fill in most things, with the help of one or two of Ma’s medicinal brandy! I asked Ma questions while Ma gradually got quieter and quieter until finally she asked me when we were leaving. I stopped to explain that she wasn’t going anywhere until Monday and that I would be with her every step of the way. I also asked her to give the place 4 weeks and if she didn’t like it, we’d work something out.
We were there at 10 the next day with paperwork filled in meeting with the Financial Officer. (I was discouraged from bringing Ma even after I explained I had no carer for the time it would take to finalise the paperwork.) As it was, I wanted her to see the room that was being provided and I also had to fill in paperwork about ‘end of life’ care. To perform CPR or not; to do everything to save her life and move her to a hospital or just go with palliative care. Ma and I have discussed her end of life preferences before so I knew the answer to the questions but still felt the need to discuss them again with her. My head was spinning over the financials with no idea of what we were going to do.
We moved her electric lift chair in on Sunday and were there on Monday moving in. I was told that usually aged care providers ring the day before for you to be in the next day. And I thought this was fast!
The view near her room is beautiful with a lovely verandah residents can sit on and enjoy. Rooms on this side of the facility cost a lot more because of the view! There is also a lovely little sunroom right next door.
My sisters and I move her in on Monday. Her brandy is written up by the doctor and she gets her tipple of a night time. I talk to the registered nurse and staff about her ‘unique’ problems in the hopes that she won’t have the problems of constipation, ulcer infection and skin rashes that have occurred previously with her two periods of respite care.
I don’t sleep well that night waiting on a call to tell me she’s fallen or something else has happened. My mind won’t shut down! On Tuesday I start to decorate. I hang her pictures up and put some other homely touches in place. I notice her heart patch hasn’t been removed the night before and that the person dispensing the pills doesn’t really know what they’re doing as they are Certificate 4 and not a nurse. She tells me that she doesn’t have any idea what any of the pills are for… SIGH. We discover an old friend of hers a couple of doors down who we stop in and see.
Ma sleeps in her chair again as she can’t get into the bed. The physio isn’t due until Thursday and I’m told that staff aren’t allowed to life patients legs in beds so Ma will probably be sleeping in her chair until Thursday! I explain that she is used to a handrail beside the bed which she uses to get herself in and out of bed. I’m told they don’t have them as they can be looked on as a form of restraint… SIGH
I’m finding things out everyday. Many things I wish I’d been told before. I will be making a few suggestions in the hopes of improving things. There is no resident’s information pack that gives family any information. My life certainly would’ve been made easier if I’d known then what I do now!