Even in the rest home, Dad remained very protective of the other residents, so much so that there was an incident involving a day care resident in late November that saw the home insist that he be re-evaluated.
I said to the head nurse, ‘I just want him to be given a fair go. What are the chances he will be allowed back there?’
‘It depends on what the psychogeriatrician says.’ I sensed the insincerity in her voice.
For when the psychogeriatrician from Wellington Hospital called (actually, he told me he was a ‘psychiatrist’ and to this day I remain unsure if a psychogeriatrician or psychogeriatric nurse has seen him), he told me that he was told that they didn’t want him back.
Lie number one, then.
This is despite a course of medication that has actually helped Dad with his alertness.
Of course, during this whole evaluation, Dad contracted pneumonia, for which he had to be on a course of Augmentin.
The ‘psychiatrist’ also told me that he would prescribe Risperidone to Dad as the original course of medication that I had discussed with our GP, Donepezil, was, in his opinion, ineffective.
When speaking to the nurses and health care assistants at Ward 6, I was always informed that Dad was taking Augmentin and Risperidone.
He was still having balance issues and a severe cough but deemed ‘medically fit’ and had to leave the hospital.
The social worker worked extremely hard to find a dementia care unit for him. I have him on a waiting list at one home, but till that place is free, the closest is Bupa in Whitby.
I’m now reading his discharge sheet, to discover that he is ‘Best suited for dementia level care or high dependency care if BPSD cannot be treated successfully.’ Note the word if.
Frankly, they haven’t had a chance to see if any course of medication has helped his BPSD. I have witnessed it, to my knowledge, they haven’t.
Everyone seems dead keen to get Dad into dementia-level care that he’s being pigeonholed.
So he was, in my non-medical opinion, prematurely discharged and shipped off to Bupa.
And the discharge sheet doesn’t mention anything about Risperidone other than that it is PRN—prescribed only when needed. It doesn’t appear to be a regular medicine.
So, was I lied to at Wellington Hospital or is the discharge sheet bullshit?
Lie number two, then.
I’m not saying that Dad won’t eventually have to go into dementia-level care but it doesn’t seem necessary, and the Bupa staff agree.
Today I discovered him agitated because he was hungry.
The staff said he hadn’t been eating.
He was brought his dinner but I noticed that his dentures were missing.
No shit, you took his dentures so he couldn’t eat.
But no one put two and two together.
Seeing I was there he made a valiant effort to try to eat some cold meat they had served him and choked horribly on it. I had to stop him and said I would enquire what was going on.
The carers made a good effort looking in his room to no avail.
No one was at reception but fortunately there were some cellphone numbers posted on a notice there. I texted one of the RNs, who, despite not working today, made a massive effort to find out what had happened. God bless this man for digging.
Turns out they took Dad’s dentures for cleaning last night and no one thought to return them. They were in the office, locked away.
All of this has me deeply angry that they think they can treat elderly people like this. And how poor the communications are because they aren’t treating them as human beings.
If I wasn’t a daily visitor—and driving from Rongotai to Whitby is no easy task—then would Dad have just starved?
He has aphasia so he can only point and show if he’s upset.
One RN told me he was agitated earlier today. Again, no shit.
I’ve texted the social worker my concerns. Discharging a patient prematurely is one thing but taking him to a facility where they have effectively starved him for a day is cruel and negligent.
All this sprung because of the clinical and inhuman way he was marginalized in late November.
It set off a chain of events that give you very little confidence in the treatment of Alzheimer’s and dementia sufferers.
Despite the kindness of the HCAs and the staff at Wellington Hospital, there are clear gaps here which I wonder whether others might question.
I will advise the GP tonight as he and the social worker have batted in our corner consistently.
He needs to be out of the clutches of a clumsy multinational corporation and put somewhere actually consistent with his level of dementia.
And if I don’t get some satisfactory answers for once, then things will get … interesting.