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Not able to be with mother with dementia in hospital due to Covid

Posted

Specializes in Instructor of Nursing and Med/surg nurse. Has 13 years experience.

My mother was recently admitted for a GI virus, acute dehydration and afib out of control. She has dementia but was able to answer questions so my father and I were told to wait outside and they took her for a week. The ED nurse called to give me updates, but once she was admitted it was a different story. I am her DPOA for everything has anyone experienced this? It is really disheartening!

My parents were moved by strangers (we weren’t allowed to do it) into an assisted living facility on April 10th and the first time I got to see them was last Thursday in the parking lot of the building to sign some important papers. It was suggested that they should be forced to quarantine in their apartment now for 2 weeks because they went outside. My 80 year old mother had to set her new apartment up by herself and has been stuck in the building with no break from my 83 year old demented father because they aren’t allowed to leave and we’re not allowed in. We’ve been told that they might not be allowed visitors until there is a vaccine available which reasonably won’t be available for about 4 years. We are now trying to figure out what to do because the situation has become untenable. I get it. The risk is high but the whole point of moving them was to give them a better quality of life and they are absolutely miserable. What’s worse is they are emotionally and physically regressing. This has got to end.

InSchool4eva20, MSN, RN

Specializes in Instructor of Nursing and Med/surg nurse. Has 13 years experience.

I agree, it makes the dementia worse. We have been so cautious so they are not exposed and then she got a different virus. I tried to call repeatedly and I was literally told families were so angry they were routing the calls only to patient rooms and I couldn't talk to the nurses station. I ended up calling my mothers phone and she would push her call light to talk to the nurse because she couldn't hear her phone in the room.

My parents are on their own, but to the point we need assisted living for them. I'm thinking we need to keep them home as long as possible. I worry about your exact situation happening.

BSNbeDONE, ASN, BSN, LPN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, LTACH, LTC, Home Health. Has 35 years experience.

I’m in a very similar situation. I’m my mom’s only daughter. She’s in a personal care home because of the dementia. I haven’t seen her in nearly 3 months now. Everyday, I think about bringing her home and caring for her myself. The problem is that there is no one to pay the bills if I drop everything to be that fulltime caregiver to her.

The facility hosted a drive-thru parade so that we could see our loved ones; but there was no stopping allowed. I didn’t go and I asked my family not to go because mom is prone to ‘go looking for us’ as if we were babies or toddlers. (We how how varied dementia can be). If the facility decides to kick her out, I’ll be forced to go quit my job to take care of her. Also, I couldn’t bare the thought of just driving past my own mother and not stopping. Just typing this is forming that lump in my throat.

I know these days are unprecedented and affecting everyone, but I can’t help but feel that I’m the only one this is happening to. I can’t not see her indefinitely. Yet I know that if I insist, they will surely discharge her, and I can kiss my job goodbye. I’m searching for work-from-home positions, but so is a thousand other nurses...

I do not agree with those restrictive policies. Pediatric, mentally, cognitively, behaviorally impaired patients should not have those needs ignored.

BSNbeDONE, ASN, BSN, LPN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, LTACH, LTC, Home Health. Has 35 years experience.

40 minutes ago, toomuchbaloney said:

I do not agree with those restrictive policies. Pediatric, mentally, cognitively, behaviorally impaired patients should not have those needs ignored.

I have to agree with my mom’s facility because not all residents have nurses as family members. Unless I can be with her 24 hours a day, this is as close as I can get to being reassured that she is protected. If they make concessions for me, they’d have to do it for the others, too, no matter how careless they may be. It is such a terrible position to be in.

2 minutes ago, BSNbeDONE said:

I have to agree with my mom’s facility because not all residents have nurses as family members. Unless I can be with her 24 hours a day, this is as close as I can get to being reassured that she is protected. If they make concessions for me, they’d have to do it for the others, too, no matter how careless they may be. It is such a terrible position to be in.

I understand. However, when an individual is experiencing decline that is thought to be caused by the isolation, the POC should be adjusted. Even in a pandemic, we have to try to find ways to meet these needs.

Yes, I am an old school idealist and optimist. This virus isn't going away. We have to find manageable solutions, IMV.

On the other hand, I'm glad that I retired early.

BSNbeDONE, ASN, BSN, LPN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, LTACH, LTC, Home Health. Has 35 years experience.

Oh mercy! If I was able to retire, my problems would be solved. I’d have her right here with me. I’m trying to hold on for another 7 years...

And ABSOLUTELY we need to find a work-around for this virus.

pixierose, BSN, RN

Specializes in ED, psych. Has 4 years experience.

The policies need to be addressed across the board.

It hurts my heart to see my patients with dementia decline, even across the few weeks I may have them. They need someone there to help ground them, comfort them, or even help explain to me things I may not have gotten (it’s the little things in care to help comfort mom or dad).

For CMO patients at the end, c’mon - let their family members in. I’m tired of feeling like a secret agent, working with the charge nurse sneaking family members in to say goodbye. They have a mask, gowns ... let them say goodbye!

Edited by pixierose

1 minute ago, pixierose said:

The policies need to be addressed across the board.

It hurts my heart to see my patients with dementia decline, even across the few weeks I may have them. They need someone there to help ground them, comfort them, or even help explain to me things I may not have gotten (it’s the little things in care to help comfort mom or dad).

For CMO patients at the end, c’mon - let their family members in. I’m tired of feeling like a secret agent, working with the charge nurse sneaking family members in to say goodbye. They have a mask, gowns ... let them say goodbye!

Maybe if there is ever enough PPE again...

My mother said she would rather die of Covid than die of loneliness. That, I think, says it all.

sirI, MSN, APRN, NP

Specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB. Has 30 years experience.

1 minute ago, Wuzzie said:

My mother said she would rather die of Covid than die of loneliness. That, I think, says it all.

Aw, that hurts my heart, @Wuzzie

LibraSunCNM, MSN

Specializes in OB. Has 10 years experience.

22 minutes ago, Wuzzie said:

My mother said she would rather die of Covid than die of loneliness. That, I think, says it all.

So many hugs! I'm so sorry you're dealing with this.

StrwbryblndRN

Specializes in CMSRN. Has 9 years experience.

2 hours ago, Wuzzie said:

My mother said she would rather die of Covid than die of loneliness. That, I think, says it all.

Yep.

Kitiger, RN

Specializes in Private Duty Pediatrics. Has 42 years experience.

One of my (older) neighbors has given her family strict orders to NOT allow her to be hospitalized if she gets COVID. She would rather die surrounded by family. She lives with her daughter's family, and she figures that if she gets it, it will be because one of the family members brought it in. In other words, she will not be the one putting the others at risk.

Marisette, BSN, RN

Specializes in Registered Nurse. Has 28 years experience.

It's really sad what is happening in nursing homes. I don't understand why the most vulnerable population was not protected adequately. Why not more testing availability for family who wants to enter and see their love ones? There are some rapid test that may be of benefit prior to entry of family to care facilities .

As a matter of fact, why not have more testing for any health care staff delivering care to the general public. Who wants to go to the ER, clinic or hospital where the staff can potentially endanger the patient ?

I have not been listening to as much news lately. Has any of this been addressed ? Has the testing availability issue resolved ?

RN-to- BSN, ADN, RN

Specializes in SCRN. Has 7 years experience.

There is no visitors policy in place, and it applies to everyone (couple of exceptions are there for end of life). If you like an update about your loved one's condition, call the inpatient nurse. I do not see why you cannot call the nurse yourself. Inpatient nurses don't routinely call the family members, you have to call THEM. Even better, ask for the doctor to call you. Ask if they do facetime there.

11 hours ago, Marisette said:

It's really sad what is happening in nursing homes. I don't understand why the most vulnerable population was not protected adequately. Why not more testing availability for family who wants to enter and see their love ones? There are some rapid test that may be of benefit prior to entry of family to care facilities .

As a matter of fact, why not have more testing for any health care staff delivering care to the general public. Who wants to go to the ER, clinic or hospital where the staff can potentially endanger the patient ?

I have not been listening to as much news lately. Has any of this been addressed ? Has the testing availability issue resolved ?

Testing availability is better. Even with more available tests, the accuracy of the rapids is in question. There is also some concern that the rapid tests give a lot of false negatives. The research seems to go back and forth about how accurate they are, but some studies have shown the Abbott rapid to miss 1/3 or more of the positives. Some hospitals are refusing to use them at all. My hospital does use them, but for people with higher risk factors, a negative on a rapid in the ED will get you a bed on the PUI unit while waiting for one of the longer tests to come back.

On Wednesday, I got my rapid COVID and blood drawn for antibodies. My hospital is trying to test all frontline workers, but I think the point to study asymptomatic transmission in health care workers, not as an ongoing attempt at infection control. At least at the moment, I don't know when we'll all be tested again, or even IF we will. I wasn't even tested when I was informed of a potential exposure from a colleague; I was just instructed to take my temp twice a day for two weeks.