Thursday, March 16, 2006

A Day of Neglect

Mom had a tough day today. Her afternoon caregiver, Connie, was scheduled to work 2 pm to 10 pm but had an emergency with her 13-year-old daughter and couldn't come.
When I got the call at 1:30 pm, I didn't ask for a replacement. Instead I decided that Ocean View staff members could look after Mom until I arrived at about 7 pm to give her a shower.
I knew there was a St. Patrick's Day party 2-4 pm, then dinner. I called Ocean View to let the staff know that Mom was in their care 2-7 pm.
At 2:30 pm I almost went over to check on Mom, but then I stopped myself. Instead I prepared for the 4:30 pm community meeting I attended today.
At 6:30 pm I got a call from Bethlhem, the lead caregiver, asking whether I was coming and whether she could take Mom back to her room and leave her. She didn't say that Mom was so frustrated with not being allowed to return to her room after dinner that she was crying, but Mom reported that later.
When I arrived at 7:15 pm, Mom was in a hysterical state of anxiety. Her cheeks were flushed, her look bewildered. Her breathing was heavy wheezing. She said she had been expecting me all day, but I didn't come.
Then she launched into a tale about how mean "she" is. Mom can no longer tell her caregivers apart; they blend together in her mind.
"She wouldn't let me go back to my room. 'I don't give a damn' she said."
"She shouldn't say that!" I answered. "If she does that, I may have to fire her."
Mom liked that idea.
After listening to her tale of woe (caused by my decision not to call in a substitute), I gave her a shower and dressed her for bedtime. Then I found the musical "Annie" on television and set her up to watch it on tv until the Ocean View staff came to put her to bed.
When I left, she was cozy and content. However, this episode demonstrated how valuable the caregivers are. She thrives on having them with her to converse and to attend her needs.
As soon as I try to save money by not having the caregivers with her, she panics. Their absence causes a change in her schedule, and that creates more panic.

Note: It would be better to have no private caregivers than intermittent caregivers. One day full care, the next just partial is too confusing for her.

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