A Caregiver's Journal provides information, insight, enlightenment and shared experiences for new caregivers and encouragement for long time caregivers. The focus of this blog is our transition from empty nesters to caregivers for my god-sister, Gladys, a stroke survivor. RSS Subscribe to RSS

Marietta Health And Rehab – My Opinion

Marietta Health and Rehab is one of three nursing homes that our hospice agency uses for respite care. The way the process works is that the agency checks to see which facility has availability for the dates requested.  In our case, that was Marietta Health and Rehab.  We used their services for them to care for Gladys for three days and two nights.  This post is my opinion of the services we received over those 2-1/2 days.

Friendliness

The administrative staff, nurses and other staff all seemed pleasant and friendly.  There was a lot of paperwork to read and sign for those three days but the facility administrator constantly apologized and assured me that it was only a few more minutes. Even though Gladys’ stay was going to be short, we were introduced to a bevy of staff people who would assist in Gladys’ care.  Each one was very personable.

The Facility

The facility is a very old. The closets in the rooms have deep, heavy, wooden drawers, the bedding is dark; overall it is fairly depressing.  However, on the positive side, upon entering the facility there is an aviary with colorful birds.  There is also an aquarium. The facility is secure – a code opens and closes the door from the outside and inside.  The cafeteria is bright with one side of windows.

Programs

The facility has scheduled activities, including religious services on Saturdays and Sundays.

Communication

I don’t know about other patients, but in our case communication was definitely lacking.  Some of the problems we experienced were:

  • When I got to the nurses’ station when we went to pick Gladys up on Sunday, the nurse in charge thought I was taking her home for the weekend. When I said, “no she’s only here for respite” the nurse look baffled.  One of the other nurses had to explain respite to her. That was scary.
  • Gladys’ discharge papers were not ready. The staff said they thought she was going to be there for five days. Every paper I filled out during admission said three days and that I would pick her up on Sunday between 1:00 PM and 2:00 PM.  I got there at 3:00, so she should have been ready.
  • I had signed an order that said “family will do laundry.”  This was to make sure that her clothes stayed in her room.  While I was packing Gladys’ clothes, a person came by with one of Gladys’ shirts and a pair of pants on a hanger; she didn’t know whose clothes they were (even though Gladys name was on every item we took to the facility, including her clothes).
  • The most disturbing thing was that part of her medicines were missing.  They actually had to find them. So my question was, “If you had to find the medicine, was it administered to her while she was here?”  After checking the chart, it was discovered that she did not receive those medicines over the 3 days.
  • Last but not least – I called the facility ahead of time to be sure of what to take for Gladys.  They did not use her night gowns, undershirts or toiletries.  I didn’t eve ask.  By then it was a mute point and I just wanted to get her home.

Customer Service

Even after we had to wait for the staff to prepare her discharge papers; found someone wandering the hall with her clothes; and wait for Gladys to be dressed I was annoyed but managed to keep my cool.  However, when they had to FIND her medicine and discovered that some of the medicines had not been administered, my temper rose but I managed to keep it under control.  Even though I didn’t raise my voice and managed to not call them idiots, my responses were sharp and comments were biting.

One of the reasons my temper began to rise was because of the head nurse’s response.  She kept telling me that this was not her wing so it wasn’t her fault; she was only trying to help out.  I knew it wasn’t her fault, but I didn’t care and that was not the right thing to say. We went round and round about the medicine.  Finally, I just shut up because I didn’t want to lose my temper.  Quite frankly, I didn’t care whose fault it was, I just wanted it fixed.

I work in ministry and I can’t count the number of times that I have apologized for something that wasn’t my fault.  It is so much more calming to say, “I’m sorry that this happened, let me see what I can do to help you.  I apologize for your inconvenience.”

The Up Side

Since I opened my online store, Caregivers Health Mart, I joined a networking group that provides services for the elderly. Before taking Gladys to the facility I talked to some of the people I met through the network and was told that Gladys would be fine for a few days but they wouldn’t advise it for long term care.

I think this facility has potential but the staff needs training in customer service and organizational skills.  It would benefit from a facelift.

This was our experience, what do you think?


A Caregivers Thoughts on the Quality of Life

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Every day when Gladys gets up, I ask her “How are you today?”  Her response is always, “Thank God I’m still alive.”  Every time she says that, I wonder what it is that she’s thankful for.  (I know that’ sounds bad but it’s what I think).

Her Mental State

Gladys has lived a good life and a fairly long life.  She can engage you in reasonably good conversation.  If you didn’t know she has dementia, you would have a hard time discerning it.  Gladys has known me since I was born, literally!  She was the one who took my mother to the hospital.  However, she does not remember my name.  She knows her birth date but not today’s date.  If you ask her the year, she will say it’s 1999.  She doesn’t know where she lives but she knows that she’s not in Philadelphia anymore (we moved her to Georgia a year ago).  She knows that a black man is president, but she can’t remember that his name is Obama.

Recently she has started asking the same questions over and over again.  Sometimes she forgets that she ate; she forgets she just came out of the bathroom and turns around and goes right back again. I know these are all the usual progression of dementia, but I’m still puzzled by her reply, “Thank God I’m still alive.”

Gladys knows that something is wrong with her but she doesn’t know what’s wrong.  Her greatest fear is what people used to call “old and doty.”  When she does things that don’t make sense, she’ll cry and ask, “Am I losing my mind?”  I know that she is, but what am I suppose to say?

Her Physical Condition

Every day Gladys takes 13 different medications.  She has another that is in reserve for very severe pain only. She has extremely severe arthritis and is always in pain.  She has no cartilage in her joints.  Even though she takes glucosamine/chondroitin and calcium chews every day, they doesn’t seem to help.  I can hear her bones rubbing and knocking together.  I can see the pain on her face and sometimes she’s in so much pain that she just cries; and there’s nothing I can do about it.

She moves so slowly that I am constantly reminded of Tim Conway’s little old man on the Carol Burnett Show. I used to laugh so hard when his segment came on the show.  But I’m not laughing now.  Compared to Gladys, Tim Conway’s little old man was running a sprint.  In the mornings it takes me 2 1/2 hours to get her ready so we can take her to adult day care.

There are many other examples I can give but I think this is enough.  So if I go back to my original thoughts about the quality of life, I ask myself would I rather live that way, would I want a better quality of life or would I want to go home to be with the Lord.  I know there are millions of people living with a variety of diseases and conditions that have a poor quality of life.  I don’t know what the answer is.  I know what I feel now, but as life goes on my opinion may change.

Right now I am one person looking at another person whose mind  and body are slowly deteriorating.  I wonder if I was in the same condition, would I thank God that I’m still alive or ask Him to bring me on home?

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Posted on : May 20 2009
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Posted under Caregiving, Elder care, My Opinion |

Microsoft Internet Explorer Security Risk

Just in case you have not heard, Internet Explorer has a security problem.  I sent an email to a few friends last night and when I turned on the news at 5:30 this morning, it was on the news.  Here is a link to Kathy Hendershot Hurd’s article on the problem – Warning MSIE Security Risk Discovered.  She sites several different sources.

I switched to FireFox about six months ago.


Posted on : Dec 17 2008
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Posted under Caregiving, My Opinion |