Hospital Stays with a Dementia Patient
The evening of November 15, 2019 dad was admitted to the hospital. I honestly at this point don't recall what it was for now. I do recall staying there with him the entire time he was there. Megan came up long enough for me to go home and shower, change clothes and grab the meds I had to take at night. I wasn't sure what to expect staying in a hospital room with my father who has dementia and I will say I didn't get much sleep. He didn't sleep very well and would ask where mom was. I told him it was my turn to be with him and tried my best to deflect the questions. A couple of my friends stopped by and said hello, one took me down to the cafeteria while dad was sleeping to make sure I ate something as well!
All in all, dad ended up being okay but he was there from that Friday night until Monday afternoon. I knew it was going to be confusing taking him back to Franklin Park since he hadn't been there for too long so I called them as I was going to get the car and let them know we were on our way, they were ready and waiting for him when we got there with hugs and the warmest greetings ever!
The following Saturday morning, November 23, 2019 dad fell and was disoriented bad enough that he was taken to the ER. I made it to Franklin Park before he was transported and then beat the ambulance to the ER. We spent about 4 hours at the hospital and after x-rays and blood work everything checked out okay. Dad at one point tried to tell me he was faking it and he actually seemed pretty lucid at that point but I knew better! I took him back to Franklin Park and spent some time there with him and left with our usual hug, kiss and me telling him to behave with his "Aw, that's no fun!"
January 2, 2020 I had stopped by to see dad on my way home from work. I had finally made the decision that I wanted a camera in his room so I could keep an eye on him more than just being able to "drop in" on him with the Amazon Echo that we gave him for Christmas. I temporarily placed it on the top of his armoire facing into his room and I planned on Saturday having Megan and Tyler get him out of his room while I mounted it on the wall to have a better view. Little did I know that I had placed the camera at just the right time. Dad's last hospital stay was not one for end of life, it was due to what is under Texas Penal Code Section 22.04 called Injury to Elderly/Disabled Individual.
I woke up the morning of Saturday, January 4, 2020 and checked the camera feed and saw my father being pushed forcefully down into a chair by one of the caregivers. She can be heard on the clip saying what to me sounds like "Now hear this" which is not what an American would say if they were doing something but she's not from the US, she's from Nigeria. I received a phone call from one of the caregivers that morning saying that something wasn't right with him. I told her that I was about to leave the house to head over there and there was something I needed to talk with them about. One of the hospice nurses that was seeing her patients that day helped out by taking a look at dad and said that she felt swelling in his back and he was in obvious pain. Once I got there we decided to call the ambulance to transport him. As we were leaving I stepped aside with the manager on duty and showed her the footage I had. She was visibly appalled and asked that I get a copy of it to Meg, the director. I forwarded a copy of the video to her.
I spent the first night at the hospital researching elder abuse and what I needed to do through the state. The next day I reached out to Williamson County Sheriff's Department and found out what I needed to do to file charges against her. I found out that Meg, the director of Franklin Park, had also reached out to them as well. This picture is of the person who had just 3 weeks before the incident received her CNA license and also had recently been through training with her employer about how to handle the stress of the job and when to walk away. She is a single mother from Nigeria who's son (I don't know his age) had recently lost his father due to I believe cancer. Do I feel bad for the situation she is in? No, it is one of her own making. She could have walked away and asked for help if she was that stressed out, she didn't have to retaliate if my father had done something she didn't like. Caring for individuals with dementia can be like caring for toddlers at times.
I spent a total of 3 nights in the hospital with dad that time. He was more combative than his previous hospital stay and at one point was threatening towards me. The hospital had put an electronic monitor in the room with us that would go off and someone would come over the speaker telling him to get back in bed any time he tried to get up. Most of the time I was able to wave them off and let them know I was there and taking care of him. There was one time that I was so tired and he was up even more than a newborn baby and would not settle down and was argumentative about staying in bed that I finally just stepped out into the hall when I knew he was getting up and one of the nurses saw me and asked if I was okay. I told him no, he was getting up and I just couldn't do it right then. They went in and took care of it for me. There was another time that he was up and down and then told me that I didn't care about him and that finally did it for me. I went off on him with the nurse standing in the doorway. I told him in no uncertain terms that yes I did care about him because if I didn't I would be at home in my own bed asleep and not in the hospital with him not getting any sleep at all and that he needed to get his ass back in bed and go to sleep. He looked at me like he couldn't believe I just said that but he got back in bed. The nurse looked at me, nodded his head to say good job and stepped out. Sometimes tough love is what you have to do even with your parent who has dementia.
Staying in the hospital is no fun, staying in the hospital with a dementia patient SUCKS!