Author Topic: Advice upon admitting your loved ones to a nursing home  (Read 2664 times)

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Advice upon admitting your loved ones to a nursing home
« on: December 15, 2013, 01:04:31 PM »
I am not going to say it was not my father?s time, only God can determine that  but  if I were given this advice I believe we would had more time, perhaps he would of enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner with is family before his passing

My father was admitted to a nursing home after a three day stay in in the hospital due to difficulties with his COPD.  The goal was to improve his health so he could move onto an assisted living facility.  The nursing home I chose was clean, did not have the smells associated with nursing homes, the rooms were comfortable and nice.  I felt I was leaving my father in good hands. .  When my father was admitted he was able to walk in on his own accord (with the use of his cane),  the first week he had no difficulty walking to the dining room for his meals , he was alert, read his book and would watch he favorite TV programs.   In a few short weeks he began to take his meal in his room, he did not have the energy to walk down to the dining room; he quit reading and lost interest watching his favorite sports teams. I learned every week day morning he had two hours of PT that  include the use of weights and a walking machine, hearing this I was shocked.  He was an 86 year old man with breathing problems, no wonder he did not have any energy left.
One:  I advise that you use your own personal physician, keep an open line of communication with your physician and only he/she can prescribe what medications your love one can be given.  Only one time did the doctor of staff see my Dad, this was the day he was admitted.    It was the nurses who recommended what medications my father should be given, the doctor of staff would just sign off at their recommendations.   

Two:  Do not agree to have your loved one given sedatives just because the nurse says he/she seems agitated.   I was not in full agreement with having my Dad on sedatives but his attending nurse said he would become anxious when he felt he could not get a full breath.   They had taken away his inhaler and hooked him up to oxygen.   After his breakfast he would be given the ?sedative? and would sleep until the next day, he was only eating one meal per day.

Three:  Do not be manipulated into changing your love one?s Health Care Directive.    Upon admittance to the nursing home Dad had to fill out a HCD.  He stated he wanted all efforts to save his life, given nutrition and taken to the hospital in the event of an emergency.  This Friday I will never  forget, as always I visited my Dad on the way home from work.  The attending nurse (she is the one I always saw in the late afternoon & the very same one who insisted on the sedatives) pulled me aside and wanted me to change my Dad?s HCD.  She told me his time was near and if I did not change his wishes she would have to administer CPR which could crack one of his ribs due to his frail condition.   Something told me not to do so; she was not happy with my decision and made the comment ?so I am to call the ambulance if something happens?? I gave her a firm yes.  I do believe this decision saved my Dad?s live that day.  That evening after I had gone to bed the very same nurse called to say she was calling an ambulance to take my Dad to the hospital.  On admittance to the hospital I told the nurse I did not want my Dad on any sedatives, if it was his time I wanted to be able to visit with him.  The next day I visited my Dad and he was sleeping, they said he had eaten his breakfast but had to be fed since they were afraid he would aspirated his food.  The next day I visited my Dad and he was wide awake, just finished reading that morning?s paper and was watching the football game.  The nurse was feeding him; the food was soft food but from the smell and the little taste I took was very tasty.  We had the first real visit in weeks, I was over joyed.  The next day Dad was transported back to the nursing home.  That evening he was back into the state of being sedated, I noted the meal of soft food that he had not eaten.  It looked horrid and from a small taste would not stimulate anyone?s appetite.  I told the nurse, the very same who I always saw in the late afternoons, no more sedatives.  The next afternoon I dropped by ,as I was going down the hall toward my Dad?s room I could hear him yelling for help, the very same nurse was standing in the hall talking to another nurse not paying any attention to my Dad?s cries...  My Dad had that ?deer in the head lights look? he seems so frightened.  I went out to the hall to see why the nurse had not attended to my Dad?s cries for help.  She made the comment of my request of no sedatives, I was so upset and scared for my Dad that I caved in and allowed the sedatives and took her recommendation to change his HCD.   Now I wonder if having my Dad in such a state was to manipulate me into changing his care and HCD.  Dad passed away shortly after.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2013, 01:08:43 PM by Barbara »


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Re: Advice upon admitting your loved ones to a nursing home
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2013, 07:59:05 AM »

I am so sorry to hear about your Dad's passing.

Unfortunately, there are good and bad nursing homes - in my opinion.  That is based on my Mom being in 3 different ones and in assisted living.

I feel it was very unfortunately, that they did not seem to listen to your requests and sedate your Dad.  In my Mom's nursing homes, only the doctor changes the meds.  He visits often.  I think that is something people need to watch with their loved ones. 

Unless you have been involved with nursing homes,  you just don't know what seems right and wrong.  I can only say to anyone that if what the nursing home is doing does not seem correct or against your instructions - please go to the top and make things right or think about moving your loved one.

I am so glad you posted your story.  It is very sad and difficult to deal with, but by posting it, others might learn.  You have to be very vigilant with family in nursing homes.  When something doesn't seem right, talk to the nurse in charge of all the nurses or the manager of the nursing home.  I can say that is you have to do that more than once, then it is time to find another nursing home.

It is difficult since we can't be there all the time.  We need to be able to trust the staff.  Any time a med is changed or a PT is changed, I get a call. I get tons of calls from my Mom's nursing home.  I think it should be that way.  There should be good medical care from a doctor, not just nurses and they should keep you informed about all changes.

My Mom got very sick, pneumonia or bronchitis, and they called to ask what to do.  I said take her to the hospital.  I thought she was going to die, but somehow she managed to pull through with antibiotics and oxygen and a special breathing machine.  At least I had the decision what to do.

I have a do not resuscitate  order since I know at 91, her ribs would be broken with CPR.  But anything else that is treatable, I make the decision.

I know all this information doesn't help bring your Dad back, but it is here for others to read.  It is so difficult to know how nursing homes should act if you haven't been involved.  Any time you are not happy with their treatment or have that nagging inner voice telling you this is not right - speak up.  There are also advocates for nursing home patients.  They can be helpful, but are not there quickly.

My heart goes out to you.  You can't blame yourself since you did the very best you can for your Father.  I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

« Last Edit: December 20, 2013, 08:46:48 AM by pwalter »