Going an ER Visit Alone…

 

Have you ever been a patient in an emergency room? Did you go by yourself or did you have someone with you? Were you seen right away or forced to sit in the waiting room for hours? Did you have your own “room” or was your bed parked in a crowded hallway? Were you scared? Anxious? Frustrated? Confused? Uncomfortable?

Having accompanied family members and clients to the emergency room on multiple occasions I can attest first hand that they have felt all of the emotions and feelings described above at one time or another. Fortunately for them they all had me by their side to advocate on their behalf.

But, what about the patients that have no one to ask questions and speak up for them? I remember one visit to the ER when my husband had a kidney stone and there, in a bed next to the medical station, was an older woman who was brought in by a local assisted living facility. She repeatedly called out for help but no one responded. She said she needed to use the bathroom but no one helped her. She kept asking where she was and begged to go home but the staff ignored her–except every so often to tell her to “sit still” (evidently she was also a fall risk). And, while the staff did nothing to help her they had no problem speaking about her as if she wasn’t there. It was clear that she had some level of dementia but she still had enough presence of mind to know that she was in a strange place and needed help.

I know I was out of turn but I couldn’t help but speak up for her. I asked her nurse to please have someone take her to the rest room. I also asked that they call her family so that someone could come be with her. The nurse said that she had no family nearby and that someone from the facility dropped her off and left her there all by herself. That they would pick her up at some point–whenever the driver had the chance. And, that other than trying to address her medical issues, she was not their responsibility.  I was furious with the assisted living for being so irresponsible and uncaring (please don’t ask me which one because I will not say).

I’ll never know what happened to her because, after several hours, my husband passed his kidney stone and we were able to go home. Yet, the poor lady was still in the same place as when we arrived. She was still calling for help and asking to go home. No one had come by to explain what was going on and comfort her.

Bottom line. Whether you are 24 or 104 you should always try to have someone with you to advocate if you have the unfortunate experience of having to go to an emergency room. Someone to ask questions and to press for explanations. And, when you are ready to go home (or be admitted), to make sure that you receive the attention and care that you need and that you deserve.

 

 

 

Warning Signs That Your Elderly Loved One Needs Help

The holidays are often a time that family members who have not seen one another get together to celebrate. Whether you are traveling or hosting there are several “warning signs” that your elderly loved one needs extra attention.

You notice that your mom’s clothes are not fitting well. In fact, they seem to be falling off of her. Or, you see it in her face. This could be a sign of illness (causing loss of appetite) or even dementia (forgetting to eat meals). If your mom cannot provide a satisfactory reason for the loss of weight it would be prudent to make an appointment to see her doctor.

You visit your dad and you notice a pile of unopened mail on the dining room table. The dates on the envelopes go back several months. You ask him about it and he tells you not to worry. You cannot help but be concerned. If your dad agrees it may be a good idea to go through the mail together and set up a bill payment plan going forward. If you suspect something else is going on, such as difficulty seeing or even depression, you can help him address these concerns.

Your favorite aunt comes to visit. At first things seem totally fine. She’s happy to see you and the kids. You fill her in on what is going on in your lives and ask her how how she is doing. And then she asks the same question she just asked again. And again. This could be a warning that she is experiencing the start of dementia. The sooner she gets diagnosed and treated the better.

While it may be difficult to see your family members getting older and you may wish that you could ignore the warning signs it helps to look at this opportunity to help as a good thing.Without your intervention things could continue to get worse. Now, you have the opportunity to make a difference; to help your loved ones improve their health and quality of life. This is perhaps the best gift you can give to your loved one–and yourself.

For more information about LMR Elder Care please visit http://www.LMReldercare.com