An Accident In Dementia Care

I received a phone call yesterday morning saying that mom had fallen and was taken to the hospital.  A storm that was currently raging had knocked out electricity in the area.  Many traffic lights were out and it was stop and go all the way to the hospital.  What should have taken 30 minutes took and hour.  By the time I arrived mom was ready to be taken home.

When some one falls behind a closed door it could be a period of time before the accident is discovered.  I don’t know how long it took but I am confident that it was not really a long time.  Residents are checked throughout the night to make sure everything is ok.  The problem is that from the time she fell to the time the EMT’s could do their work the time frame could have been substantially longer than what the dementia mind can tolerate.  The staff could not move her because of the pain she was in and it was unknown if mom had broken bones.  Mom was scared and did not understand why she was being left on the floor.

The hospital did X Rays and found that mom did not have any broken bones.  They sent her home with pain meds and that was all that was needed.

We brought mom back to the care facility and got her into bed.  Since her husband, Charlie, was with mom and there was really nothing more I could do at the moment, I decided to leave.  Later I called Charlie to check and see how he was doing and to get an update on mom.  He said that after I left that she laid in bed and they talked a while.  She was sleeping when he left around 2:00p.

At the moment is seems that the traumatic experience of the fall, laying on the floor, the pain she was in and the pain medication caused mom to spiral into hallucinations and massive confusion.

When I went to check on mom in the afternoon she was awake but she didn’t know who I was.  She was confusing every visitor together with doctors, nurses and staff along with talking to someone who wasn’t even there.  I have a feeling that most of that was related to the trauma she had experienced with the fall and the pain meds.  I have never seen her like that before and it was very upsetting for me.

Mom was given another pain med at 3:00p and I asked staff to get her a sandwich so she has something on her tummy.  So mom sat up and we moved her into the wheelchair where she ate her sandwich and took her pill.  She seemed to feel better and was seeming more like herself so we went for a walk down the hallway and all around.  She became much more coherent and talked and smiled with other residents.  All seems well.  She sat in the dining room but didn’t eat dinner.  She wasn’t really hungry since she had recently had a sandwith

This morning when I arrived mom was in bed sleeping and snoring, so I know she was asleep.  I talked to her and held her hand to let her know I was there and she smiled and said I Love You.  When mom gets up to go potty I go get the staff so they can help her with that and get her clothes on her and ready for the day.

This morning is particularly difficult though.  Mom is in a lot of pain.  I can hear her crying out when the girls are moving her around.  I get teared up but I know they need to keep mom moving.  The nurse and 2 other girls are in there so I know she is in good hands.  The girls are gentle but they get mom to do what needs to be done as well.  The goal at the moment is to get mom up, dressed and some food on her tummy so she can have a pain pill.  With all of these goals accomplished and about 40 minutes after the pain pill, mom expresses she needs to go lay down.  She is falling asleep in the chair.  It takes 3 of us to get her back into bed as she is to far asleep to help at all.

Through all of this it still seems and feels like mom is back to her general state of mind, the trauma has subsided and she asked me why her back is so painful, did I fall?  So now it seems the pain is the main issue for her.

The next move is to figure out what will work for mom as a pain reliever that will not put her to sleep.  We want to keep her awake and alert, that is huge!  Plus, I asked about a bed that will help her to sit up rather than mom having to do the work of sitting herself up.  The pain seems too severe right now and a hospital bed may work.  Anything to help her at the moment and then we can move forward.

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