Fifteen months ago, I was hired by a charming, alert, 85-year-old woman to act as her Power of Attorney for Healthcare and, if necessary, Geriatric Care Manager. I remember the first day I met her. She was running around her 2-bedroom ranch house like someone had fired her out of a cannon. I made my usual assessment, asking about her medical issues (surprisingly, she had many), list of medications, and how to help carry out her wishes when she was alive and near end of life. She was somewhat skeptical as to why she would need my Geriatric Care Management services. I explained that, since she had no relatives or friends who could handle the job if she needed help, she would need to have a plan in place. She went along with my suggestion.
Three months ago, I received a call from a skilled nursing home where she had been taken for rehab. My client had called 911 after falling. Unfortunately, her hospital was on bypass because the ER was so busy, so she was taken to the next closest hospital where none of her physicians were on staff. The hospital treated her for a heart problem and sent her to a rehab. community. I went to visit her and was astonished at how badly she had deteriorated. She said the food at the rehab facility was horrible and she felt like she was losing weight. She was a good cook and ate very healthy.
Upon developing a second health issue, my client was transferred back to the hospital where her doctors were on staff. She was treated for a high white cell count and was again ready for release to rehabilitation. She insisted on being transferred to a home that was owned by her hospital, thinking her doctors would follow her. I explained to her many times that her current physicians would not follow her unless I took her to see them myself. She was pretty unrelenting at this request, so I chose the best rehab. community available within the hospital system. I was right: Her current physician wouldn’t follow her and she was seen by the medical director at the home. While the therapy was good, she complained vehemently about the food and continued to lose weight (20 pounds).
Interacting with this client has always been something of an adventure, given the cannonball personality I mentioned earlier. One day I took her to a doctor’s appointment. My client was in a wheel chair and her oncologist needed a stool sample. He sent us to the outpatient lab, but there was no one there to assist her on and off a bedpan, so we were sent to the Emergency Room where the physical help could be provided. We laughed hysterically at this “emergency.”
Eventually, my client completed her rehab. I had to think about the next step. She was not in any condition to go home.
I arranged to have my client take a respite stay at an assisted living community that had the same medical director as the skilled community. So at least the doctor was familiar with her case. However, before she moved in, I took her on a tour and had her sample the food to make certain she liked it. The meal passed muster, and so she moved in.
After 6 weeks, she really seemed to enjoy the socialization and food at the community. I saw her sampling some wine with her lunch. Her stay was spoiled, however, when the community admitted a woman who had sundowning issues. The new resident entered my client’s room at 3 AM, demanding that my client “Come out and show herself!” At that point my client demanded to go home.
I evaluated my client’s home for safety and had grab bars and a high toilet installed. My client is now at home with a live-in caregiver. While she has admitted it is a horrible adjustment to have someone living with her, she is adjusting. Her next wish? To be able to drive her car: a 1985 Jaguar!
Do you need a second opinion? Let Andrea Donovan Senior Living Advisors help. Call us at (708) 415-2934 or email us. Please visit our website. Please watch my video to learn how the process works and learn what some clients have to say.
Andrea Donovan Senior Living Advisors
1497 Shire Circle
Inverness, IL 60067