So I think this is more of a vent (kinda long), but here goes. Mom moved into AL on Jan. 19. Two weeks later, she fell in AL (no one walking behind her or making her use her walker) and broke her leg (hip). After 5 days in hospital, she was transferred to a nursing home 45 min away because the short term rehab facility was full and closer nursing homes weren't taking anyone due to COVID lockdowns.

Current NH allows no visitation at all and she's been in solitary confinement for the first two weeks. I have no way of knowing what is going on in there since she is in mid-stage dementia, but all she tells all of us is that she is miserable, constantly in pain, no one will come when she rings the bell to take her to the bathroom ( I was on the phone w/her for 20 min. once and no one came) and when they do come, they are mean. She says she has messed on herself more than once because no one comes in time and then they are more mad. So I'd love to know what is really happening, but NHs have a bad reputation for a reason, so I bet it is probably true. Also probably true because I WAS allowed in the hospital w/her and it would take them 20+ min to respond to the bell.

Anyway, contract w/NH says I can pay for a private duty nurse or CNA to go in there. So I told them I wanted to do that and they said no due to COVID. Why? That person would be licensed and tested for COVID as much as they want and follow all of their protocols. Makes me more suspicious of the place.

Add to that the two previous caregivers I was using aren't returning my texts. One's daughter is in the hospital, so she won't be available anyway and I don't know what is up with the other one. We left it on good terms when Mom moved into AL. So I don't have anyone I trust to pay to go in there. :(

Mom doesn't even remember being in AL, wants to move in w/me or my brother when she is released from NH. Brother says he wants her, but he lives w/his daughter and she doesn't want her. I want her to, but I know that in reality she will drive me and my husband crazy and that neither she nor I can afford FT caregivers here. That is why she was in AL. Of course I hate to send her back to AL because that's where she fell and because due to COVID, we're not really getting what we're paying for -- no activities, visitors have to show a recent negative COVID test, etc. They have just reopened the dining room. They were making them eat all their meals in their rooms, but now most of the staff and residents have been vaccinated, so they are easing up a little. Also, they are short-staffed like everywhere else. I don't know how anyone can say they can't get a job, when all of the NHs, hospitals and ALs are hiring around here. I work at a community college and we will fast-track people in allied health to get their credentials. The training is free.

As usual, there is no good answer I can see. It just s#cks to get old, it seems.

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Sandola, the NH conditions you described are exactly what was going on in my MIL's facility last May when here LTC unit had 16 people with covid, 9 of whom died (but not my MIL). Please understand that they can't just have anyone waltz in there without the requisite quarantining time, which is why they are short staffed. Also, it is the staff that usually brings in the virus in the first place, as it was the first and second time covid was in MIL's facility. Because of the extenuating situation, the facility really needs people that have some experience, common sense and wisdom: 3 things not usually found in a newly-minted college grad. At my MIL's facility they were working all sorts of hideous hours trying to isolate the sick elders from the others to contain the spread; donning and stripping PPE continuously; responding to angry family who didn't understand why they couldn't talk to or even see their LO. We were standing outside a window of a make-shift covid ward trying to get my very very weak MIL's attention and hold up signs so she'd see us. That went on for 4 full weeks.

I realize your path forward would be a lot clearer if could know that the country would go back to pre-covid "normal" in 2 or 4 or 6 months, but no one knows if this will happen. Can you split the arrangement with your brother (so that his daughter knows it has a finite end point?) Maybe use the time to consult with an elder law attorney to see if/when your LO would qualify for Medicaid? MC and LTC are more expensive than AL.

Just for the record, my MIL's facility has been around for over 30 years and is very well run. I realize the NH's of the long past were not nice places, especially if they were the county ones. I sincerely hope others can post good ideas and support for you. I sincerely wish you success in figuring out a solution that works for everyone. Many of us have been in your shoes.

I would let her go back to the AL before I would let her move in with you. Yes it's a shame that she fell while there and broke her leg or hip, but realistically she could have done that under your care as well. You will never find a nursing facility that does everything 100% correct all the time, that's just a fact. You already know in your heart of hearts that your mom requires more care than you or your brother can provide, so really the AL at this time is the best option. And hopefully over the next few months, things at the AL will return to some kind of normalcy, and your mom will actually be happy there. Best wishes.

Heart says take her home. Head says return to AL.

I'm thinking you can still care & visit in AL (although hard dam* that Covid). But at home, will the practical day to day tasks wear away the joy quickly?

Could you bring her home for 2 days - making sure you say it is a *holiday* but ensure her AL room is ready after that?

Oh Sandola, my heart sinks for you. What a dilemma. And what a time to have to be trying to resolve it.

What is the state of things with the ALF where she had her fall? You've kept her place there, have you - it'll be available as soon as she's rehabbed?

Yes, I have kept her room at the AL. I can't bring her to my house at all unless I buy (rent? I don't know where or how to get one) a temporary ramp to get into my house as there are four steps to the front porch and two big steps up from the garage. She broke the top portion of her femur, which is really her leg, but they all keep calling it her hip. Either way, she can't do steps.

Who knows if the AL will ever be fully staffed or return to normal activities.

As far as the NH's policy, I guess I can understand what Geaton is saying, because yes, it IS the staff bringing the virus in everywhere. Mom's AL had 5 residents with it before she moved in and it was a staff member who brought it in and spread it. So just because I know that my two caregivers are COVID free because they are tested as much as the NH (one works at a hospital for the terminally ill and the other works at the local rehab hospital) and my mom was never sick the whole 6 months they took care of her, I see that they have to follow an extreme policy.

What's horrible is that there is no transparency at all. They can treat the patients in there however they want with no repercussions, because no one can see what is happening. The only way this will change is probably for someone to sue over personal freedom or civil rights or something. And I'm sure their COVID policy is so restrictive because they were (other NHs across the country) getting sued for wrongful death.

And I know next to nothing about this NH, because I don't know anyone who's ever been in it. We had already chosen an NH for a worst case scenario (never dreaming of COVID of course) and that one was not available due to COVID. My mom had always said if she HAD to go to an NH, to put her at "W" and I had even gone there and checked it out and agreed. But then they were closed and the only places open were two horrible ones and the one she is in now. So I guess we just keep on keeping on and when (If?) she gets out, she will go back to AL and I will visit as much as possible and take her out for rides as soon as she can get to and from and in and out of my car.

Thanks for listening!

Visit, call, FaceTime--whatever, but DO NOT move her in with you.

Spend a few minutes reading the MANY posts people have written in talking about the trials of in home CG. You'll get a pretty true picture very quickly.

The NH standards sound bad. I know because my mother is in one after a septic infection. Previously she was in the neighboring AL facility. Are you at all sure the AL facility will take her back? My mother could never return to hers. She can no longer walk. I would first try to find out about that while you keep paying for an empty room. Then I think maybe your best best would be to find a NH closer to you that has better reviews. Presently I am allowed a one hour visit during a specific hour on weekdays. I have to mask and gown up for it as well as have my temperature taken. Hope you find a solution soon.

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