Nursing homes are not for the faint of heart

Dad spent almost six weeks at a nursing home in Iowa, starting out on the regular rehab floor.  He was in such a terrible mental state when he arrived, he went for FOUR straight days without sleeping.  This sent him into a psychotic state and the nurses on the regular rehab floor couldn’t handle him.  He was constantly trying to get up out of his chair (he was a fall risk), out of bed, wasn’t following directions and was really just out of control behaviorally.  This was not my father.  He is the calmest, sweetest, most mild mannered individual you will meet.  Yet, here I was getting reports of him throwing nurses against the wall, yelling at them, being belligerent and worse.  I had no choice but to agree to have him moved to the memory care unit upstairs.

This was the worst thing I could have done, although I don’t think I had much choice.  He was given an anti-psychotic medication and moved.  The good thing is the meds got him to sleep, finally, but they turned him into a zombie.  He was surrounded by “one flew over the cuckoo’s nest” and was left to just sit in his wheelchair for hours on end, in between PT and OT visits.  The PT and OT was completely ineffective because he was so out of it due to the antipsychotic meds they had him on.  He couldn’t focus, was constantly falling asleep and had no motivation to do anything.  Not surprisingly, he was discharged from Medicare after only 35 days.  I am appealing.

My only advice is this.  If you have a crisis like this, and you are the health care proxy (meaning you are charged with making health care decisions), make sure you are there IN PERSON.  Do not try to do this long distance.  IT DOESN’T WORK. That is my biggest regret.  Since I had just been out there to move him, I let others step in and visit, as I had other things going on during that time period that prevented me from getting away so quickly again.  BIG MISTAKE.  If you aren’t there…at every appointment…you cannot adequately advocate for someone. Lesson learned.  I immediately went to work putting in place a plan to move my dad out to a place close to me, so I could do this job right.

I couldn't get him out of here fast enough
I couldn’t get him out of here fast enough

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