I took a worrying call from my sister in law yesterday that all is not well in my brother’s Nursing Home. Apparently there has been a significant downturn in the quality of care John has been receiving in the last few weeks. This is such a shame as John had seemed well cared for: surrounded by lots of ‘lovely ladies’ who attended to his every need. Now the signs, approaching neglect, are clear to any observer – with Jean having genuine concerns about her husband’s personal care.
At this juncture I think it is worth revisiting John’s journey to his Nursing Home. His route to diagnosis has a familiar ring to it; with close family taking a while to accept that Alzheimer’s was causing radical changes in his behaviour. Once his condition was out in the open we struggled to know how we could help. As things got more difficult for Jean to cope with she persuaded John to attend a local Day Centre. When she sought respiteone weekend John’s destiny was sealed.
Unfamilar with new surroundings John struck out, so we are told, at a carer. Police were summoned and John was sectioned. A considerable spell in a Mental Health Unit resulted in chemical intervention, to calm down his behaviour, so that he could be placed in a Nursing Home on continuing health care. How fortunate that Maureen didn’t lash out at anyone when she was dumped by a social worker in her ‘Mental Home’: it’s scary to think about where that might have led!
Whenever I have visited John he has seemed happy: comfortable and surrounded by ‘lovely ladies’. A new manager has recently been appointed and staff turnover has been high. John’s main carers are now predominantly bank nurses from an Agency. Few of them really know John and may well not understand his personal needs. As his wife says she has had to call at John’s Household on a daily basis in the last few weeks to make sure he is clean. Staff shortages and the influx of new staff have led to personal care of residents falling by the wayside. The Nursing Home has never been spick and span but now the constant aroma says it all.
I am often told that Maureen is at the most challenging stage of dementia. I don’t mind the daily challenges one bit. Yes it is tiring and I wish my wife had never had a stroke with ensuing dementia. However, I don’t relish the day I can no longer cope seeing her neglected by others and not knowing where to turn. No wonder this is on my mind so early in the morning as I can’t easily get down to see my Big Brother or give my sister in law any support at thois moment in time.
When you are a Care Partner you soon learn who your real friends are. It only took an EMail, to the Coventry contingent, and my daugher and two sisters sprang into action as soon as I passed on how distressed Jean had become. The other thing you learn is never to pass on any bad news, of any kind, to Maureen she has enough to deal with!
Footnote: Just remembered today is ‘Sunday Roast’ day.