Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Might Velcro Be the Answer?

The phone rang at 6:15am.  I cursed as I swung my leg out of bed, knowing that it was the pod-castle before caller id confirmed it.  No one else calls that early. The cheery voice on the other end of the line wished me a good morning, wondered how I was doing, and apologized for calling at such an awkward time.

I didn't want to hear any of that.  I wanted to hear that my mother was safe and healthy and unbroken. That information came after the pleasantries.  I was not in the mood for pleasantries before sunrise; I bit my tongue and listened as the caregiver rattled on... and on... and on.

The story that was hidden amidst the verbiage wasn't pretty. Two bed alarms rang just after 2:15 this morning.  The lone caregiver in the pod castle attended to the chimes emanating from another patient's room. When the floating caregiver arrived (to provide coverage for her break), she was directed to G'ma's room, where she found my mother on the ground.

I don't know why the gentleman received care when my mother was ignored. I don't know why he wasn't stabilized and then left in a safe situation so that my mother could be seen.  I don't know where mom landed, or how long she was there, or if she rolled out of bed, or if she fell trying to hoist her nightgown and sit on the toilet seat. The floater was gone by the time I was called; the caregiver on duty didn't have the answers, either.  If information had been shared between the two of them, it never made it to my ears.

My only job is to keep my mother safe.  This is not keeping her safe.  I realize that no one can stand next to her 24 hours a day.  That's why we put the alarms on her bed. I recognize that adding an additional staff member at nights would solve the problem as long as three alarms don't go off at the same time.  It's a conundrum, but one that must be unraveled and re-wrapped in a more satisfactory fashion.  

The owner of the facility, a kind and thoughtful woman with an impossible job, listened, as she always does, with sympathy and compassion.  She never offers the easy answer.  She never defaults to responses which would make me cringe.  I never hear "There's nothing we can do" or "It's not our fault" or "Your expectations are too high."  She hears the manifest and the latent content of my calls, and responds to both.  

We'll be meeting next Monday afternoon to set G'ma's six month plan in place.  The med tech and the pod manager and the owner and I will put our heads together and try to come up with a plan.  That plan won't involve reminding G'ma to use the button on her Life-Alert necklace to call for help; she can't remember that it is there, let alone remember what it is supposed to do.  Not that pushing the button would have made any difference last night; no one can be in two places at once and the caregiver was elsewhere when my mom was in danger.

My mom was in danger..... that's not a sentence I ever want to type. We tried to avoid dangerous situations by placing her in the care of Assisted Living professionals, but what do we do when those caregivers are busy? She doesn't have the financial means to pay for a private duty nurse to live in her room at night; the bed alarm is supposed to be her "private duty".  I guess I should be glad that the alarm itself was operational.  Who knows how long she'd have been on the floor had it not been tunefully chiming?  

I never did get back to sleep. I spent all morning sharing my sorrows with friends and family, as I went to Pilates (twice) and had lunch and caught up on emails and facebook and life.  Everyone was sympathetic.  No one had a solution.... until Little Cuter found this:
We just put her in a velcro suit, attach the gripping side to her sheets, and she's not going anyplace.

I suppose it's a good thing that I can still laugh about it.

8 comments:

  1. OMG, the velcro suit is funny. I don't mean to laugh, but it was a good ending part of the post. Especially after I was horrified that G'ma was on the floor (again). I'm glad she didn't break any bones. Is she trying to get out of bed or is she falling out?

    I hope she wasn't hurt. Know your nerves are frayed. Stay strong.

    Sending hugs.


    Megan xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish I knew if she rolled out or fell while walking. No one knows, least of all G'ma. Glad you laughed... it's that or rollup in a little ball, clutching my arms around my knees, and wailing. This just gets worse....
      a/b

      Delete
  2. Sigh. Sorry you are dealing with this again/still. Love the Velcro suit. Maybe she would like it!
    xoxoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know she would love it, Little Cheese! But, I am sure that the facility and the regulators would say that it is "unlawful restraint" and banish it.
      a/b

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  3. In the nursing home where my Mother lives, they lower her bed until it is on the floor with a soft gell mat next to it. This way she is only 10 inches from the floor. Does the pod castle have this type of bed?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had that bed, at $200/month (not covered by Medicare or insurance) and the mat (paid for since it couldn't be rented - also not reimbursable) for three months. Since no one knows if she rolled out or fell while walking, I'm not sure I need to pay to get it back. The pod castle said "residents have a hard time getting up from the floor if they end up on the mat" ... so I have visions of Mom hurting herself trying to get up.

      If there's a good solution here, it escapes me.
      a/b

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  4. I'm glad Little Cuter knows you well enough to send you a laugh in the midst of all your worry! I wish you the best of luck in coming up with other solutions ... unfortunately increased staffing at the Pod Castle is not likely to be one of them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, she is the best antidote to my sadness <3
      a/b

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