The last entry in my blog was about Mom’s visit to Warrensburg, NY sitting on the beach on Kelm Pond. A truly great moment that fulfilled a wish from Mom to visit the lake. Unfortunately, a week and a half later, Mom complained of pain in her arm and my brother Chris as a precaution took her to Glens Falls Hospital. They admitted her primarily because her blood pressure was high (Systolic at 190). I was not consulted by the hospital and they proceeded to lower her blood pressure to the 120 range. In the process, Mom really was lethargic and confused. I found out about this during a call to the hospital the day she was admitted and explained that Mom’s normal blood pressure is in the high range and that’s it’s not uncommon that it occasionally goes high.
At this point, Mom needed almost total assistance to eat, dress, etc. She was no longer able to go back to assisted living. After two weeks in the
I accompanied Mom and I’m so glad I was there. This time I got to talk to a really good emergency room doctor and explained to them that I felt during the first visit to the hospital, the physicians focused on the numbers instead of understanding the patient. It was a really simple discussion with the hospitalist that went like this “So, the first time she was here, the doctor followed
This started another odyssey for Mom. I was informed by the hospital that there was not a lot of rehabilitation/skilled nursing facilities with beds and the closest one was 50 miles away from Glens Falls in Ticonderoga, NY.
Mom became a resident and patient at Saratoga Rehab. Within a week, the facility did a thorough evaluation of Mom’s cognitive and physical capabilities and Gina and I had a conference call with Mom’s rehab team. It was really great to have this opportunity because in that meeting Gina and I got a good picture of where Mom was and the initial thoughts by her care team to what they felt Mom was capable of achieving with physical and occupational therapy. It was during that call Gina and I said that if at all possible, the goal was to work with Mom to the point she could hopefully go back to an assisted living facility at The Landing in Queensbury. This would require Mom to make progress from essentially a total assistance situation, to where she can do basic transferring by herself and eating meals. Fast forward, that’s exactly what happened. With the help of the wonderful staff at Saratoga Rehab and Skilled Nursing, Mom worked hard and made progress to the point the Landing at Queensbury was happy to accept her back. I was so proud of Mom for working with the staff. I’d like to personally thank the staff at Saratoga Rehab and skilled nursing for helping Mom and doing a great job communicating with me.
In early October, Mom returned to her room at The Landing. She was grateful to go back. It was a bit hard on Mom at first to get used to her surroundings. But after a week or so, she somewhat settled in. Every time my brothers visited her, she was happy they were there, but very sad when they left. I know she appreciated the staff at The Landing and she made one or two friends, but she said she was lonely there. I had always told Mom that we would like to have Mom back in North Carolina and that we were looking at a smaller residential assisted living home. Mom liked the idea of both coming home and living in a residential home in NC. Gina and I toured over a half dozen Raleigh and Cary assisted living homes. We really like this model of assisted living. Mainly because it’s a
With this chapter, I wanted to share some thoughts and advice to anyone reading this and going through a similar situation with their loved ones:
1. Continue to reach out for help to your circle of support. Our geriatric care manager based in Glens Falls (Eileen) had toured all the skilled nursing facilities and offered advice and an assessment about each and her thoughts on their ability to care for mom.
2. Work closely with the hospital discharge planner assigned to your case as well as the case manager. Good case managers are a god send. They work hard and have a lot on their plate, but if you spend time with them, encourage them and compliment them, they will go the extra mile for you and the family. I made it a point to get to know the hospital and facility case managers and it was very helpful to guide Mom to the right place at the right time
3. When an event happens that requires hospitalization, talk to the lead nurse assigned and the physician AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. Understandably, they don’t know your loved one’s history so it’s very important to make that transition from a numbers game to a know thy patient game before making changes to medications and determine treatment.
4. When evaluating facilities to move to like residential or larger assisted living facilities do your homework. Doing your homework can be asking a geriatric care manager or geriatric advocate to research the possibilities and do all the groundwork. I personally feel good geriatric managers/advocates are worth their weight in gold. Gina and I feel blessed we know a number of them in our community and they are great.
5. When talking to Mom and Dad about big emotional changes like moving, try to present it in a fashion where they feel they are in control. That they are making the decision. You of course have a stake in the game but you can express it in a fashion you giving advice and input and not a mandate. Easier said than done and trust me I know but all the experts in geriatric coaching will recommend conversations offering your loved one the e control to make the decision and make it in their own time.
I also want to thank all of the staff at The Landing for the great care for Mom. I have nothing but good things to say about The Landing at Queensbury. When Mom went back to The Landing, she needed a lot of attention. While I was there, whenever Mom made a call for assistance or “pulled the chain” in her room, the staff promptly responded. It was not only the prompt response that impressed me but the bedside manner. They cared. Mom was one of theirs. God bless the staff at The Landing at Queensbury, part of the Brookdale family. Thank you from the Murray family.
My next entry will describe our experiences with residential living to give those considering living in such a place some insight to how it works.