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Background: My 80 year-old dad was living alone and working FT in October. Caught COVID, ended up on a vent, and survived but had ICU delirium by the time he got out of the hospital. Went to rehab last December and has slowly regained cognition, but...


He has no muscle strength in his core or legs. Can't even balance on the edge of a bed. He was offered PT the first few weeks but was too disoriented to take it. Now that he's back to himself, the facility says they won't offer skilled PT because he's not going to be able to walk. It's a struggle to even get them to keep their promise to get him up in a wheelchair for part of the day.


I'm in the process of applying for Medicaid for him and the facility said he can stay there. This is the top-rated facility in his part of the state (where all of his friends are).


I'm absolutely heart-broken though. He has no other health issues and we're worried that he's basically just going to lay in bed until he eventually passes away. I feel as though there must be something I can do, but don't know what.


Any ideas are appreciated. THANK YOU!

Once there is more relaxation of the COVD restrictions on nursing home "visiting," if your father's physician prescribed more PT, he might be able to have a physical therapist from outside the nursing home come to work with him if he and his physical therapy group would accept private pay and your father was willing to pay. I'm having trouble remembering the details after 30+ years, but I believe in my mother's retirement community (not a nursing home), in the early days of Medicare the PTs who worked there were in a group that had not yet been approved for Medicare payment. Some residents were willing to accept this situation and pay themselves. PT in general is usually less expensive than seeing a physician, so it was doable for a while if your financial situation was OK. I don't know if private-pay PT is a possibility anymore, but it might be worth checking. You could wait until it was clear whether the restorative PT was helpful and then decide whether to pursue private pay.
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Reply to caroli1
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I am going through a similar situation- grandmother fell, was independent before that - 86 Broke shoulder. Now since in skilled rehab she don’t do anything but lay. I want to bring her home
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Reply to tboudreaux1982
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My husband and son both had Covid and we’re hospitalized. My husband is 65 and and son is 29. My son had a longer hospitalization.

Both are still having problems. Son’s problems are not severe. My husband has severe fatigue. He used to walk 5+ miles a day. Now 2 miles and he comes home and collapses. He can lift about 1/3 the weight he used lift on free weights. Both complain of “brain fog”, no energy.
Husband never took naps. Now he crashes for a couple of hours. My husband has been evaluated for multiple illnesses. Both have lost 25 - 30 lbs.

I don’t think anyone knows all of the long term effects.
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igloo572 Feb 21, 2021
Your situation sounds like one of my sons housemates. They are all early 20’s & formed their own “bubble” & pretty religious on masks & distancing. One of the boys went home for Xmas, he’s 23, healthy big boy, like played college level competitive lacrosse & rugby. His entire fam got Covid over Holidays. At first all ok then zero energy, gets blue screen migraine. He tried to do things but no energy. His Bro came & they all packed up his gear and he’s back w his fam. He’s diagnosed as a Covid long hauler, and nobody know exactly what’s in store for these patients. it’s frightening as this was a healthy active young man.
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This is a hard one because of the effects of Covid on seniors, which we are still in the process of learning however since very little beats a failure but a try ... let's give it a shot. Start making a lot of noise to everyone who even might count. Administrator of the rehab facility, the state Dept of Health, the state Dept of Health, the NIH, AARP and Dad's insurer (Medicare per chance?) and specifically an attorney who specializes in Medicare. My thought here is that there maybe a case here for a temporary directive from Medicare to extend rehab opportunities for people over 65 who have been hospitalized with a Dx of Covid. This would no doubt be a boon to a number of seniors and their families. Medicare can back down but you have to be willing to push hard even while you play by their rules.

There is also the possibility of getting Dad into a trial research project with some of the medical groups who are studying the long term effects of Covid on senior citizens. Your Dad doesn't have Alzheimers but the Alzheimer's Group in San Antonio is doing a study and I'm sure they could offer you the names of other groups who are doing studies. I got this person's name from an article in a San Antonio news article: Dr. Sudha Seshadri, director of the Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases. Give him a call and send him an email. He might be able to refer you to some great resources.
Good luck on this journey. Your Dad is fortunate to have such a caring child. Please keep us updated. I know a lot of people who will be interested.
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Reply to geddyupgo
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Raven1723 Feb 19, 2021
Thank you. You've definitely given me a lot to think about. Will start looking into these things.
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You say "he's basically just going to lay in bed until........" As though he has a choice. Please consider that he may NOT have a choice. One can hope he does, but just today there was a segment on NPR about how Covid has changed the lives of many seniors who got it. They aren't coming fully back and the sad fact is that your Dad may not.
I would assume all rehab has been used up; if not, rehab is his best chance of getting back. However, he may not have the overall stamina, lungs, muscles, mentation, to do so, and all possible outcomes have to be considered. So sorry for Dad, and for you as well. I hope it gets better.
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Raven1723 Feb 17, 2021
Oh, believe me. I am not placing blame on my dad at all. And it's true. I've been reading every article I can get about the horrible effects of COVID on seniors. I just want him to get a fair chance to try.
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He should not be left in a bed all day. He can get some kind of PT. My Mom did. Talk to the doctor. He is the only one who can order it.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Restorative PT is fine. Just get him moving!
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Thanks CountryMouse and everyone. Yes, I've been screaming to anyone who will listen. The assistant director of nursing even told me that she was upset that the on-call doctor had given me any hope because she felt as though we (the family/friends) were slow to accept their diagnosis (which, by the way...there is no diagnosis. No one knows what's actually going on. It's possible he had a stroke while on the vent although CAT scans showed nothing and he isn't showing any of the "usual" signs)

They say they offer "restorative" PT - so that the patient doesn't slide back, but nothing to help them increase any strength.

IF we weren't in lockdown, I would be there and able to see more of what's going on, but I don't even live in the same state at my dad (I'm not moving him. He has a VERY strong social group where he is) although we facetime multiple times daily.

My dad isn't a squeaky wheel by nature -and I'm afraid that if he ticks people off his care will suffer. I'm happy to be the screamer....
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Reply to Raven1723
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Have you talked to the Head of the rehab department? He should be getting PT to build strength even if he wont regain the ability to walk.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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cxmoody Feb 16, 2021
Make as much noise as possible. The Squeaky Wheel and all that.
Find someone who will do SOMETHING. I’m sitting here, angry on your behalf. Go to the top, if you need to.
Grrrrrr.
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"Now that he's back to himself, the facility says they won't offer skilled PT because he's not going to be able to walk."

They won't *offer* it?
Several expletives deleted.
I call that: How To Create A Self-Fulfilling Prophesy 101.


Argue! And encourage Dad to make the request himself, too.
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