Monday, December 24, 2007

The Eve of Christmas Eve 2007

Last year at this time, I was worrying about my mother, and how to take her out of the hell that was the nursing home where I had placed after a short illness left her confused, disoriented and unable to care for herself.

Mom was 91, and had been doing quite well until she fell in Nov. She developed a pleural effusion, which made her breathing more difficult. Fluid was drained from outside her lungs twice, with relief noted, as far as breathing. The thing that was her undoing, was removing her from her familiar environment, which made her confused. Added to that, was the uncaring attitude of nursing professionals who could not believe (even me, her daughter) that she did not come to the hospital from a nursing home. It is sad to think that nursing professionals could not believe that 91+ women can actually function and perform self-care tasks by themselves. I guess because they only see the ill, they don't realize that there are a whole host of elders out there in the world functioning just perfectly, thank you, that don't end up in a hospital until some minorish illness fells them, and they then need care.

Wake up people! They are elders that do quite well until they are felled by minor illness and that minor illness then leads to their downfall, inability to care for themselves and then death. As a health care professional, I want my fellow nurses to wake up and realize that we need to ask families questions about levels of functioning, and find how we can best help the elder to improve and get back to independence. If we do not, we fail as professionals.

As my mother descended into the hell of inability to care for herself and into confusion, she passed away. With all I knew, and all I tried to do, nothing helped.

I hope others have a better outcome. I hope that Social Workers, Nurses, and discharge personnel will help you, but I am afraid that won't happen.

God bless of all you who take care of your elderly parents at home. We know how hard it is, and how little support there is. Hang in there!

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