We welcomed back our carers from their month off. Two of them had enjoyed their holidays – but a couple had been stressed by bad news from home. The others had mixed fortunes too.
One carer said her mum was quite content in her new care home. The home had raised an issue about the mums persistent walking around and her tendency to pick up things that did not belong to her. The group’s view was that this is what people with dementia often do and they were surprised that the care home had considered this a problem they might not be able to deal with. Someone from the memory clinic had attended the home and prescribed “something to calm her down”. Tatiana pointed out there should be a chart of behaviour, appropriate behavioural interventions, and record of both what happened and what was the result. The carer will feed back to the group on developments.
Our second contributor told us her mum attends a day centre for vulnerable adults (not dementia specific) four days each week. For a few weeks mum has become upset, anxious and cry in the afternoon. There have been no changes in medication or procedures which might have caused this change in behaviour. Following a group discussion the issue seemed to be related to the arrangements for taking people home. Mum went on the second bus, which meant she saw lots of people leaving the centre – it appeared they were leaving her behind. Leaving her behind/alone was also an issue for the daughter when she visited her mum at home – every time she got ready to leave her mum became upset. In the case for the care home the group thought her mum might be able to come home on the earlier bus, or be in an area where she would not see others leaving the centre. Leaving her at home was managed by distraction. Both situations were causing the daughter stress and guilt. The group were very supportive as they were very familiar with the difficulties and the emotional reactions.
Another carer said her husband’s treatment at a care home had been a concern. A member of staff considered his behaviour to be a problem. This resulted in the husband being put on medication. Fortunately, a new doctor and support team had stopped the medication and were working well in managing his behaviour.
A group member had managed an extended break for the first time in a long time. He visited his son in the USA. His wife could not travel so he had arranged for her to be looked after by a live-in carer from Bluebird. It worked well!
The same member’s wife had recently started to have seizures. He said this was something that was more common in people with advancing dementia – which was a surprise to some of the group. You can find more information here.
A highly stressed couple had finally managed to arrange a two-week break. In the second week mum was admitted to hospital with anaemia and a shadow on her lung. After three weeks those issues had been happily resolved. However, mum was kept in bed for those weeks, without any exercise. As a result she had progressed from having difficulty in walking to being unable to stand. Now at home, there was problems with carers not turning-up. Mum now slept downstairs and her daughter was looking into finding a suitable adapted car to get mum out.
The husband had positive comments about the Queen Elizabeth dementia ward. One concern was that a doctor spent time explaining the patient’s condition to them, (apparently) without realising that people with dementia cannot necessarily remember everything you say.
Ambulances and non-urgent ambulances
A wife called an ambulance for her husband. They arrived, did all the checks and said they could not take him to hospital, as he was not an emergency case. They called a non-urgent ambulance. This crew arrived and carefully copied all the information the first crew had taken. They then took him to hospital. You may be interested to read the London Ambulance Service definitions of Emergency/Urgent/Non-urgent – apparently written for confused GPs! – here.
A carer had finally concluded that she could benefit from counselling. Others recommended “Time to Talk”. You can read about their service here.
See you next time,