Our daughter had a national tennis tournament out of state, so we had to leave Doc for the first time ever at a facility for respite care on Oct 19. They had a 5 day minimum and it cost $1175. At the end of the 5 days, the facility told us they love him and think he’s a great fit. We decided to keep him there, gave them $2000 and they accepted him, “Medicaid pending.”
My husband has had an extremely hard time with this whole process, literally breaking down many times sobbing and broken over “ripping dad from the comfort of his home” and “speeding up his demise.” Doc appeared to get worse - we picked him up to bring him over when we got back that Monday and he was all shaken up, not shaven, disheveled, stuttering and seemingly more confused than ever. Made my husband feel like he was killing his father. We’ve brought him back nearly every day to spend a few hours, have dinner, be comfortable, shower and do his laundry. We get nonstop calls all day long asking when we are coming, over and over, as if he hasn’t spoken to us at all. My husband has it the worst, his dad calls him constantly, and has a heightened sense of responsibility toward his dad since his mom died in ‘98. Dad has relied on my husband for just about everything for over 20 years, and now more than ever he is helpless. Found out that I filled out the wrong application, that I had to redo it for nursing home care (I had applied for general Medicaid because he was still at home), and it’s been over a week we’ve been waiting for an answer. In the meantime, Doc has spent almost every single day he has been there in the front sitting room by the door, with his down coat on, waiting for us to “come get him,” and has been found twice outside leaving on foot with his jacket on. It’s worth noting it’s freezing in Michigan where we live. It’s also worth noting the place has a code to get out that was posted at the door (and Doc is still crazy smart even though he has dementia). According to the sign in/out book, Doc is pretty much the only one that comes and goes, certainly no one else comes close to the frequency he does.
Our first care meeting was a few days ago, and I thought things were looking up, it was suggested and I agreed we should keep him there so he can try to get comfortable, bring comforts of home and photo albums to distract him. He had already been found once outside (just a few steps from the door), and that was discussed, didn’t seem like a huge problem. Yesterday, of course during Doc’s normal “witching hour,” we get a call from the nurse who says he got out again, and this time they took his jacket away. When he was at home with us, “witching hour” refers to the NONSTOP back and forth, up and down, turn every darn light on in and outside, repeatedly looking and asking where is everybody (husband and kids are at tennis daily until late, so I’d be home working and watching Doc), but he never went outside. Later in the evening while he was still here for dinner, the head nurse called to say he’s not a good fit, they have to check on him every 15 min, don’t want to deal with “what ifs,” and they can’t have him. Feels like a dead end. My husband says they’re not getting paid enough to deal with him and is devastated. He’s obviously an inconvenience to the administration though the nurses all say they love him.
Since the first day, Doc thinks he is back at the plant (he was in private practice for many years, then later worked as a doctor at the GM and Ford plants doing occupational medicine, looking over nurses in a similar setting). And he frequents the hallways the same as he did as a doctor, the nurses all treat him with deference, even talk medicine with him to join him in his world. He has complained many times to us that everyone else gets a break and can leave but they won’t let him go home. They staff, for the most part, been wonderful. How do I approach the admin? We don’t want to send him to ER but can’t bring him home. Such an exhausting process.