My 91-year old mother lives all the way across the country and I do not get to visit her but once every year or two. My two brothers live nearby and visit her and are supposed to look after her but they have health issues and are becoming incapable.
I just visited mother this week for the first time in two years. She has severe dementia. I arranged for a dental exam with a local dentist and the nursing home transported her. Things are horrible - she needs several extractions, three root canals and several fillings. The dentist said that he was sure the nursing home was not brushing her teeth at all and indicated he knows this is a problem with the home.
What is the obligation of the nursing home to see that mother's teeth are brushed after every meal by one of the nurses?
Second question, the dentist says he can do all the work in his office in six phases over six weeks ($9000) and that mother is a good, cooperative patient.
The other option is to have an oral surgeon do all the work in one day in a hospital setting (much more expensive I assume?). Any advice on which option to choose? Mother has enough assets to self-pay all her expected expenses for about two more years then the plan is to rely on Medicaid.
I think with the help of the case worker I can manage this all remotely when I return home and basically leave the sons out of it. I already pay all the bills and do all the correspondence.
Is this common for a nursing home to completely overlook the oral health of their dementia patients and let their teeth rot away? I feel like consulting with a lawyer. Tears.
One tricky thing I should add. The nursing home considers the hall Mother is on as assisted living even though they have registered nurse care on the hall. Maybe this lowers the obligation to provide dental care?