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My 90 yo mom with moderate dementia needs a pacemaker (her heart rate is down to 30, and although her heart has a good rhythm, it occasionally stops for up to 11 seconds!). I have prevented at least 13 falls (yes, I count them!) but it’s only a matter of time, so she really does need this. She is aware of this and was able to participate in the decision, so I’m OK with doing this. Anyway, she will have to be in overnight and I want to minimize the trauma for her. So far I’ve packed her pull ups, hand and face wipes, disposable toothbrushes (she uses these everyday), a music player with headphones, chargers for all my stuff (I’ll stay with her). Of course all her paperwork (insurance cards, photo ID, med list (and meds just in case), current labs, contact lists, copy of POA and advance directive. Am I missing anything? Thanks in advance.

Thanks to everyone for all of your helpful comments. One of the best suggestions for me was to download movies to watch. With my iPad and ear buds I comfortably watched 2 movies through a very long night. As for mom, bringing my binder with her records was critical (they wanted proof of her flu and pneumonia vaccines among other things) and her meds from home. Staff asked me specifically for 3 of her meds. I gave them the prescription bottles, they administered the meds and logged it in the chart. And fwiw, the staff was fantastic. Every person from housekeeping to management was kind, compassionate and provided immediate service. And said “thank you” after providing each service. I was astounded. So mom is home and doing well. Has to be reminded constantly to leave the incision site alone (no stitches, just glue!) but she looks and feels much better. So gang, thanks again for all the support.
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Reply to daybyday27
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When i went to the hospital last week the nurse told me they did not want me to take ... ingest ... my meds from home. They want to regulate dosage etc.

you may want to contact your mom’s doc about what to do.
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Reply to Betsysue2002
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I don't think so. You seem quite prepared.
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Reply to Peanuts56
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Sounds like you've got it covered.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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Whatever she has on during admit can be worn home, so really all you need to take w/you are what you have listed. I'd take her meds with you, too
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daybyday27 Feb 8, 2020
Yes, taking all her meds is a must.
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It sounds like you are well prepared. All you need are my best wishes for your mom's speedy recovery!
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Reply to Katie22
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Sounds like you are very well prepared and with a few suggestions from others, all should be well. It is only to be a one-day, so I wouldn't worry if anything is forgotten (medication is important, esp if they don't have what she needs and if hospital rules prevent you from dispensing what you do have. you'll have to coordinate this with nurses and hospital pharmacy beforehand.)

One thing I don't see here is to be prepared for some setback because of the anesthesia. Sometimes it can take a while to get back to "normal", sometimes one never gets back to that, but it can improve over the initial. Hopefully she won't have any setback or gets back up to herself quick!
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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in my ``hospital bag`` I also have :
- desinfecting wipes
- paper and pen , to note who comes and says and does what or leave messages
- snacks, water
- hand cream
- lip balm
- warm socks
- note sign : Will be back in ___ min , with my name and cell phone ( in case someones comes while I am out)
- alarm clock to tell time ( if she cares)
For me :
- comfortable light shoes (standing up for long time next to bed and wearing them while trying to sleep at night )
- eye mask ( help snooze under strong lights sometimes even on at night)
- personal items to freshen up ( panties, socks, tooth brush, face towellettes , moisturiser).. game changer after a sleepless night

Best of luck ,
-
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daybyday27 Feb 8, 2020
Great list, thanks! I have everything except the notes, hadn’t thought of that. Super idea!
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Yes. You. Be with her the entire time night and day. Hospital falls are very common and elderly get disoriented in strange surroundings. Not to mention sedation issues. If you leave her alone by herself that's asking for trouble and hospital staff cannot be there around the clock. Alternatively you can hire a sitter. It's like $20 an hour.
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daybyday27 Feb 8, 2020
That’s my plan to stay with her all the time. Should just be one day and overnight but that is a long time for someone who is disoriented. Thanks..
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Does she have a favorite blanket? It can be cold in hospital bed.
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Reply to Compassionate5
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Maybe some hand lotion and lip balm. Pay attention to her bedtime and morning routines and try to duplicate them as best you can. That will be comforting to her. Obviously you should skip anything too complicated, water-centered, or smelly.
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Reply to SFdaughter
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My dad took a medication that had to be name brand. If he took a generic of it (a seizure medication) it was as if he was taking nothing. I always kept the name brand on me because there were hospitals that only had generic in their pharmacies. He certainly didn't need a grand mal on top of whatever he was at the hospital for! In other words, don't assume that they have particular brands of medications. If this is a concern for you, you will need to speech to the intake nurse and the pharmacist. I also agree with your idea of bringing a toothbrush. Although hospitals provide them, they are often lousy. I had one shed bristles in my mouth! Last, bring a couple snacks and a drink for yourself (even soup in a thermos). Hospital cafeterias can have inconvenient hours or food that may not "sit well" and you need to take good care of yourself. Remember, you will likely be helping her out at home later. Your mom will feel so much better. With her heart pumping at a higher better rate, oxygenation will go up and she will have energy on demand and a new lease on life.
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Reply to lynina2
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You seem to have it covered. You don't mention her medical directives, but start thinking about whether she would want to be hospitalized as her dementia progresses. We eventually put my mother with advanced dementia on a "no hospitalization" directive, because she was so agitated and didn't understand why she was in the hospital. Regarding the falling, my mother also started falling about 8 months ago as her dementia advanced. In her case it was not so much due to physical problems, but more as if she was forgetting how to stand and walk. She is in an assisted living facility and the aides are now putting her in a wheel chair to take her around or in a "Geri" chair (geriatric reclining chair). We got her a medical bed that goes up and down and has bars to prevent her from trying to get up.
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disgustedtoo Feb 7, 2020
Same with my mother. A couple of little tumbles (NO injury) and she developed a fear of falling, so she generally won't stand or walk unless someone helps!

Her issue is more related to NOT walking enough or getting exercise. When she moved into MC, she was able to walk unassisted, for TWO years. Then came the rollator. But, all along she'd get herself out to the table to eat, then sit all day when not eating, reading papers, magazines, sale catalogs. No exercise! She used to harp at my dad to "use it or lose it!" She even recently said she should do this when the nurse was helping her, but last attempt with PT she refused to work with them. They even held light exercise classes with residents who would (or could be convinced to) participate. Not mom. The weight gain doesn't help either.

So, like your mother she is now in a wheelchair. It will just make it worse, since she isn't using her legs. But, it is what it is. With dementia you can't get them to drink and can't even lead them to the drink!
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Seems you have it well-covered. I would suggest a good book to read and maybe a laptop to stream movies on (that's just me and what I would like).

I agree that your mom needs a pacemaker and the procedure is not difficult or traumatic. She'll have more energy afterwards and will be less likely to fall. You and she have made the decision to go for this procedure. We treat people humanely not because of age, but because of need. Please consider that you will need to find ways to keep her from removing the bandage until the wound heals.
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Reply to Taarna
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daybyday27 Feb 8, 2020
Thanks so much and great idea about bandage. They do so like to pick at things!
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Do you really think she needs a pacemaker? Maybe this is the time to start to let her go.
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Countrymouse Feb 7, 2020
Start and finish, I should think, in short order. 30 beats a minute is very slow.
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My husband loved to look through his photo albums - they relaxed him.
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Reply to Franklin2011
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This may not be particularly relevant here (for a short stay), but a couple decades ago I came across a book having the title "Take This Book To The Hospital With You" which dealt with negotiating the process such as formalities, red tape, billing, etc. along with some suggestions related more directly to the immediate comfort of the patient. It's still available although some aspects may be a bit outdated (Amazon shows it as dated 1997). Maybe others on this forum can comment, as my copy is still buried in a box somewhere from my last move. In any case, other readers might find this useful, considering that caring for elders usually means dealing with more visits to the hospital than generally needed for younger people.
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Reply to jacobsonbob
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bring meds in one zip lock bag/ Makeup in another, hair brush, diapers , wipes, water. bottled water for her and you. snacks.. what ever you both like to chomp on. kleenix, pillow for you, blanket for you...When you get ther, get several for MOm. usually in a blanket warmer..hospitals are cold. get so ease reading material, like READERS DIGEST... May a cooking magazine... Something light and fun to read.

gum.....water, baanana, fresh frfuit. whatever yoy thing you two might enhoy

GN
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caroli1 Feb 6, 2020
Since you have to have everything you bring in inventoried, and then inventoried again when you leave--often quite time-consuming--I'd skip whatever the hospital normally will provide: Kleenex, water (they'll provide plenty of ice water and plastic glasses, and most likely a blanket and pillow for you (you could check before going). There are also usually food machines, and while it may cost more than bringing your own snacks, if you get them while you're there (for those that are generally available in snack machines) you won't have to have them inventoried!
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You might want to double-check that the hospital has all the meds your mother normally takes, assuming that they are allowed. I had a two-day planned stay at a major teaching hospital, and found while I was there that they had used a substitute for one of my regular meds. The substitute was one I had taken in the past that had been found ineffective. The medication I normally took was not in the hospital's formulary, probably because it was quite expensive. I was told it was fine if I wanted to have someone bring me the medication from home, which, with great difficulty, I did. So if any of your mother's meds are not included in the formulary, you might want to take it with you. I would bring the bottle so the hospital can see that it was prescribed for her and is to be given at the frequency you tell them. Remember that she may not have some or all of her meds the day of the procedure, so you will want to be sure she gets what she needs that evening or the next morning before she goes home.
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Thanks, everyone, you reinforced my thinking on much of this. I can’t imagine showing up without ID, etc. Must be quite a remarkable system that uses just a palmprint and has everything else in the computer. When I spoke with the office today they were happy to hear that I was bringing all of that information. Although we’re on the same digital medical network, it doesn’t always make it across all of the computer systems. And I know they have incontinence supplies there, but I’d rather have her in familiar Depends than in those awful cheap things the hospitals and nursing homes use. Thanks for the reminder about the anti-anxiety med. Mom takes an antidepressant, but that’s a good idea, too. Though, with such a low pulse rate, it might not be allowed. Relaxing and slowing her heart down might put her out of the game for good! I’ll do everything I can to stay with her and keep her safe and calm. Pillows and blankets for both of us, super idea! Super suggestions and reminders. That’s why this forum is so good!
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Reply to daybyday27
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Wow. You are prepared. When I take someone to the hospital, I just take them. I don't even take ID. All that stuff is in the computer. Their insurance information, contact lists, labs, POA, ADR, etc, etc. That's what a computer is for. They just take a palm print to ID them.

My hospital specifically ask that we don't have anything of value in the room. So I even take that stuff home if they have it on them. Underwear, toothbrushes, etc, etc they have all that stuff at the hospital.

Here's a frugal person's tip. Much of the stuff in her room will be thrown away once she leaves. The boxes of gloves, the extra underwear, the stack of super absorbent pads, the brushes, the socks, the hovermatt. Ask if you can have it. Afterall, you "paid" for it. It's charged to your insurance. Why not take it to use at home instead of filling up a landfill? Once a nurse asked if we wanted to take all this stuff saying it would be thrown away anyways. I said yes. Now I ask every time, if they are just going to throw it away, if we can have it. Every time they say yes. Most times the nurse will even bring big bags and help us bag it all up.
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disgustedtoo Feb 7, 2020
"Underwear, toothbrushes, etc, etc they have all that stuff at the hospital."

Not when I was there! I had just the over-sized one-size-fits-all PJs and robe they provided for me. When I asked the nurse for help cleaning up, she said she'd be back. Hours later when she returned, I was NOT happy. She told me I could take care of myself! I did get the head nurse in and told her what the nurse said and I asked her if she saw any towels or washcloths, any clean clothing, ANYTHING that would allow me to care for myself. She looked around and said nope. Many days later when that nurse came again, she was rather contrite.

Towards the end of my stay (almost a month of this!) I was surprised and pleased to see a light cotton, purple colored set of PJs and robe left for me! This nurse recognized the issue without me saying a word, and brought me these items from the kid's ward downstairs! They were SO nice, they fit and were lightweight, I didn't need to roll up sleeves, pant legs, bunch everything up to fit or be bogged down by the weight of the typical items!!!
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A blanket and something familiar for her to hold and focus on.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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Frebrowser Feb 6, 2020
This is especially good if the blanket smells like home. Ours contain hints of Woolite and Vaporub.
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When my dad had hospital stays we always brought his photo blanket, which provided both physical and emotional comfort. The photos of loved ones helped reorient him to how many people he had in his life that loved him. One of the photos showed him with my glamorous mother in their youth, he in a leather jacket looking like James Dean. The nurses would always comment on what a handsome man he was and he would eat that up!! It was a great icebreaker for conversation with medical staff, and I think it helped them see him not just as a patient, but also as an individual who loved and was loved. It probably even earned him a wee bit of special treatment.
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Reply to Icaretoo
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a music player with headphones, chargers for all my stuff....
May be contraindicated......
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Reply to Sendhelp
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Sorry, I really do not want to be the one with a warning.
You may need to check online and with doctors to figure out the facts. Reading that 'do not allow someone wearing headphones to place their head on your chest' - - - like hugging your Mom...may interfere with a pacemaker.

"Several types of devices and machinery may interfere with implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) and pacemakers.
The electromagnetic waves generated by such devices can keep your ICD or pacemaker from functioning properly. Try to avoid them, or at least minimize your exposure to them.
Your doctor can advise you about specific devices and machinery to avoid. But, in general, the following can cause interference:"
[There is a long list]
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disgustedtoo Feb 7, 2020
I wouldn't bring a personal headset device, esp since after anesthesia she'll be out of it for some time (sleeping.) It might interfere with any number of things - the pacemaker, IV lines, nurse needing to check vitals, etc. Using one that can be played away from the patient but heard with small speakers if available might be better (inexpensive boombox that can play tapes or CDs?) If she enjoys her music, playing what she likes, even when she is still sleeping, might be good for her.
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My mom was held overnight in ICU with a temporary pacer (and in a restraint so she wouldn't dislodge it) because she would have died without it. We were unable to stay over night and they FAILED to give mom her regularly scheduled klonopin because they had none on had and didnt think she needed it. She was a weeping, hysterical mess in the AM. When I asked (nicely, the first time) for them to find her some valium, anything, really, they took their sweet time doing so.

So really, make sure they have what is required. I wish all nurses were as good as CM's.
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Countrymouse Feb 4, 2020
ICU! I rest my case! Hard-eyed, deaf-to-reason, stony-hearted robots...
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30! Yes she does!!! - really need this, I mean.

If our experience is anything to go by -

(and I've come to believe that specialties worldwide have more in common with their fellow specialties than they have by nationality - so orthopods can be relied on to be boisterous, and ophthalmologists to be in love with their work, and anaesthetists to be a bit mad-scientisty, and so on down the stereotypes - anyway, just my theory...)

- your mother will be taken beautiful care of by the nursing team. They don't have their patients for very long, and they can really focus on making the whole routine go as smoothly and comfortably as possible. Plus, of course, most of their patients are on the older side and they're adept at accommodating their needs.

If anything worries you don't hesitate to ask questions, but do set your mother a good example by relaxing as far as you possibly can. There shouldn't really be any trauma to speak of - is there some aspect of the procedure you're particularly anxious about?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Headphones and some type of portable CD, or radio, or one of the newer tech devices that can play her favorite music.    It'll help calm and relax her.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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Make sure that they give her her regular anti anxiety med; if she doesn't take one, make sure they write a script for it and GIVE it to her.

Hospitals are very frightening places for elders.
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cwillie Feb 4, 2020
Younger people too!
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Take care of YOURSELF is actually the first thing I'd say. You'll be of zero use of you are strung out and exhausted.

Ask the hospital for a small roll out cot for you. I spent too many nights 'sleeping' in a hard plastic chair next to my DH. Bring your OWN pillow and a blanket, as the hospital may NOT let you 'lie down'. Bring books to read or crafts to keep your hands busy.

Bring mom her favorite pillow, as hospital pillows are like bricks.

Try to get in a nap everyday NOT at the hospital, if you can get someone to cover for you.

Oh, I just re-read. Only an overnight stay? Shouldn't be too bad. They'll punt her out of there early on the 2nd day. You're a good daughter to be so involved in this. She'll probably feel a lot better once the new pacemaker is in.
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