Sunday, February 5, 2012

care facility cabin fever

“loneliness, helplessness and boredom are the three plagues oflong-term care”  Eden Alternative
“Don seemed to me to begoing downhill, and a couple of the staff also suggested that he wasdeteriorating. …Then the head nurse came up with a different theory and adifferent solution … Don’s got cabin fever, that’s all. … Here’s the thing. …  It only took a day or two, and Don was back tohimself again.”  Multiple Sclerosis Carer: Stir Crazy

Recently I found myself in a similar situation with Patti anddinner. She was ‘reportedly’ finishing less of her meals and just wanted to goto bed. I began moving up my arrival time to be there to help with dinner. 

One such meal stands out. Arriving I saw Patti had finished her entreand overheard her yucking the aide’s offer of her fruit cup or potato soup andthat she ‘just wanted to go to bed’.

Noticing the fruit cup was diced pears and peaches, two of Patti’sfavorites – I rephrased the question ‘would you like some cut up pears andpeaches’ with a totally different response. Of course, how could the aide knowPatti’s favorites?

Soup is a function of temperature more than taste to Patti. Hot isnot appealing. Hey we’re talking about cream of potato soup here. The cooler itgets, the more pretentious it becomes. Rolling out my best bad French accent, Pattienjoyed her ‘vichyssoise’ assisted by zee crazy french waiter.

Instead of another unfinished meal, there was not a crumb left nor did Patti 'just want to go to bed'.

“… increased family involvement is positive and leads to quality oflife and quality of care for residents…” National Institutes of Health Family Involvement in Residential Long-Term Care

If the testimonials of two Multiple Sclerosis spouse caregivers, a long term carenon-profit, and NIH is not enough - then consider that even circling sharks pauseto stress the importance of family involvement. Boston nursing home abuseattorney Bernard J. Hamill, “ensuring safe care is continued familyinvolvement. There is really no substitute for this.”

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer