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I am working on state assistance for a SNF. My dad has gotten aggressive... I need my mom to be away from him so his Dr. is suggesting a behavioral health unit first then a SNF. What are these places like? Does anyone have experience with them?

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The unit is probably attached to a hospital. Depending on the size of the hospital elderly people may have their own unit separate from other units. It's difficult to say what it's like but in general there will be a routine for your dad, 3 meals a day, snacks, he'll get his medication, he'll see his doctor but probably not everyday. There will be other elderly people there, some in various stages of dementia, some not. There will be activities but it won't be too structured. There will likely be a communal TV, he'll have assistance with showering but not everyday. There will be nurses and CNA's, he'll probably be able to wear his own clothes as opposed to a hospital gown, you'll be able to visit him while he's there.

When I was in school we did rotations through behavioral health facilities. I never saw anything alarming. Sometimes it was sad but I can understand why the doctor suggested it for your dad if he's become aggressive towards your mom. Sometimes it can take a while to get a bed in a SNF and a behavioral facility can be a good place to keep your dad and your mom safe while trying to find a more permanent solution.
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Reply to Eyerishlass
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Our Dad was admitted to a geriatric behavioral unit in a major hospital for assessment. He was there for several days and assessed for capacity to make his own decisions. From there the social worker and case manager helped to get him into a SNF as a rehab patient for a few weeks.
For those who say never let your loved one go into a facility-my Dad was aggressive to his children and refused any/all help at his apartment. I think it is sometimes the only option. My Dad is almost 91, has vascular dementia with paranoia and hallucinations. He was eating rotten food and rinsing our disposable diapers to reuse them when he was on his own. And taking taxis to get payday loans. And drinking and hoarding. His neighbors were calling APS.
No one could have had him at their home-no one. No one could stay with him-believe me-20 minutes with him and you would put yourself in a nursing home.
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Reply to PrairieLake
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We had experience with a “mental” unit when one of my parents needed medication adjustments. Honestly, I think the experience turned out to be harder on me then on my parent. My mom had absolutely zero memory of being there for a week, she couldn’t wait to go back to the memory care place, and my dad couldn’t wait for her to get back to the memory care place. Although I’m not usually a big fan of drugs, after seeing what happens to people in the moderate and late stages of dementia and Alzheimer’s, I’m all for using something to make the patient less agitated and more able to function and for anything that will reduce their hallucinations or aggression. If you need to use such a facility in order to get one parent separated from another parent for safety reasons, do it! It becomes very difficult to remove an unwilling parent unless they are a danger to themselves or others and I’m sure you don’t wish to have your parent arrested first in order to be admitted under those circumstances.
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Reply to Alzh101
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JoAnn29 Oct 23, 2018
My daughter says its like guality over quanity thing. Yes, the medication might make them dopey but the alternative is them being agitated all the time. Not good for them or the people around them.
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I have an example - my parent was kicked out of an Assisted Living and went to Behavioral Health for 14 days. Now parent has been happily living in a Memory Care facility and life is a thousand times better for everyone. But is was hard to see parent in Behavioral Unit while they were adjusting meds to find the right combination.
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Reply to bd2018
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I thought Behaviour units were for finding the right medication to help the violent behaviour. I think for Mom and your safety its a good idea.

When it comes to medication its finding the right one. My daughter says it takes 30 days to see if a med will work. Every person is different so its adjusting to get the right dosage. Then, if its found that med doesn't work, they have to try another.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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If he is a danger to your mom or anyone else, he really needs help beyond what a non professional can provide.

This disease is so awful, it makes us choose the lesser of two evils more than seems bearable.

Do what his doctors recommend for his well being as well as that of your mom. Let them find the meds that calm him.

Dementia aggression is very dangerous as there is no reasoning with an individual that has super human strength, his brain is broken and he is in a fight or flight mode, adrenalin is maxed out so he is capable of unimaginable damage to others.

My grandma beat up 6 nurses in one fight, I saw the damage and it freaked me out how hurt these woman were, black eyes, swollen faces, jaws, lips, even a busted nose. We were called the moment she was restrained and told to come get her, right now. Uh, thanks! Imagine a man against one woman in that kind of thing, I'm afraid it would be a tragedy.

God bless you and your family on this journey of dementia and may you all be safe and cared for.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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Lookin4hlp Oct 24, 2018
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We have had horrible luck with them. They drugged my Dad up whenever we weren't there, and when we came back the next day, he was always gorked. Investigate ketogenic diets for dementia. It worked fantastic for my Dad, until he had a fall and they moved him to a SNF where he picked up MRSA, VRE, C-diff, pneumonia and was finally allowed to dehydrate and starve for a short time when we all were sick with colds and were advised to stay home. Best to keep them at home. Vets can apply for Aid and Attendance to pay for home care.
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mopsygirl Oct 24, 2018
Unfortunately, we found out that ONLY vets who served during war time are eligible for Aid and Attendance!!
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My dad just got out of his first trip to behavioral health he was there 23 days.My dad has Parkinson with dementia and has recently had couple of episodes of aggression he has never done that. VA sent him there they worked on meds to get him less aggressive and the very day they let him out he was hallucinating that was new, they assured me it takes time he went back to SNH VA that was 5 days ago and they sent him back today. They said he needed memory care now.
He is not the same now, and the SNH Veterans won’t take back because they have went threw all his money and fixing to start Medicaid first of the month so I don’t know what’s next.
sometimes we don’t have a choice on the matter the doctors know more I know it’s hard because I have felt like I have just been battling for dad for months. Dementia patients it’s hard I think to get a base line because there just isn’t much that can help the desease because it changes.
BH in those 23 days that dad was there seen other family’s that things with there loved ones turned out great. Don’t give up, I am with ya
helps to talk
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Reply to Daddygirl2
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My mother spent some months in a geriatric psychiatric hospital when she was in early stage vascular dementia, was paranoid, had delusions and was suicidal. She was thoroughly evaluated there and an anti-psychotic was recommended, She refused them for months until the delusions became so distressing to her she finally agreed. Fortunately the meds worked very well for her and she was quickly discharged to an ALF. Her experience in the geri psych hospital was good apart from her illness and her behaviour has been much more manageable since.
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Reply to golden23
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This is happening to me right at this moment I was like you scared, hurt, but let me tell you it’s the best thing I could have ever done. Dad is so much better and I found that a nursing home is not so good for him since he has progressed so much. He was so isolated roaming in fear nurses walking by never communicating but in smaller facility at the behavioral place he is so content. So I am looking for secured memory care right now I feel so much better now knowing what direction I need to be looking into. The last month has been so so hard, my job,marriage I couldn’t function with worry.
I was at my lowest point I can’t even explain it. I want my dad safe he is not going to get better that’s what I have to over come. But as I talked to other people a smaller secured unit they do better, it’s like they feel safer. I have seen this for myself with help of some friends.
Hope this helps. I am looking at facility’s now. Let you all know about my journey hope this helps
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