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My mom has parkinsons along with other health and mental issues. She's 69. Since January she's had 3 different episodes of acute altered mental status. 1st was a TIA. 2nd UTI after being home for 2 days from rehab. 3rd was 3 days home and they believe she has CDIFF but not sure what caused this latest episode and it was the worst of the 3. My question is what is causing the episodes and will they stop or will she come back from them and be able to return home again? I'm worried I won't be able to care of her safely anymore and we are not ready for that. I know she wants to be home and realizes things are not right. Just wondering what else could be causing these episodes or is it just the infections & TIA.

Anyone with experience in this I'd love to hear your story. Any words of wisdom or encouragement is helpful.

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Both a great aunt and my husband had a sudden onset of confusion, almost babbling. To make a long story short, both of them had a severe B12 deficiency. An IV of B12 took care of the problem. I was told when my husband did this that usually elderly are checked for B12 levels, but that didn't happen with him. He actually had some hallucinations a few days before too. This is a simple thing to check, and the cure is simple as well. Make sure your Mom's B12 level has been checked recently.
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Meg, I would be inclined to keep her at home if she's battling C-Diff. While I know it can be a lot of extra work for you, a lot of people contract c-diff in hospitals and rehab centers, as well as MRSA. Keeping her out of those environments may actualy help her recover faster, as long as it doesn't endanger you or your family.
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Thank you all for your feedback. The doctor feels once the infections clear she will return to baseline. I'm hoping and praying that is the case. I'm not ready to throw in the towel just yet and send her to a facility full time. My mother has been disabled for almost 20 yrs because of her bipolar disorder. As she gets older her health has declined with all the new onset of issues but she has held strong. I've always cared for her and her I. We have a very strong bond and it's painful to see her suffer and the thought of putting her in a home saddens me. I will continue to watch her and hopefully with the medicine she will recover and be back to herself.
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My mother recently was hospitalized for a uti and GI bleed. That was under control but in the transitional care unit she developed CDIFF. It appeared to be gone when they released her, but recurred again at home.

In each of these episodes her cognitive abilities took a nosedive. "Acute altered mental status" describes it pretty well! For example, She couldn't get up and walk, but it didn't seem to be a matter of weakness -- it was if she literally didn't remember how to walk. Within a couple of days of starting the third round of treatments she is much, much better. She is even joking (and making sense).

My mother also has dementia, Perhaps your mother does too. But whether her "mental issues" are the dementia that often goes with Parkinson's or not, it is not unusual for the elderly to react to acute illness with a mental decline. It is entirely possible that your mom will return to her baseline.once all of her medical issues are resolved. This may take some time. I wouldn't be in any hurry to bring her home from rehab. Let her heal.

In my experience, infections and TIA can cause dementia-like symptoms, and if dementia is present it can make the symptoms much worse. Unlike true dementia decline, these worsening symptoms are temporary.

It is also possible that Mom's Parkinson's and possible dementia is progressing and that is what is causing her altered mental status. In that case she is not as likely to return to her baseline. That seems like too much coincidence to me. My money is on the infections. But keep your eyes open. Observe Mom closely when she gets home.

This might be a great time to look into bringing in some in-home help. Then if she doesn't return to her former baseline, you may want to start looking at care centers. But starting with in-home help will give her more time to heal and time for you to evaluate the situation before you make a large move.

My heart goes out to you and Mom. I hope she has more years of a decent quality of life.
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UTIs and some TIAs can definitely cause what you're describing. I am so sorry to hear your mother is going through all of this at her age. She should be enjoying her retirement, instead of dealing with all of this. I know you are going through it, too. My mother had a slight bladder infection one time and became someone I didn't recognize. She was back to normal when the bladder infection cleared. I hope the hospital can figure out for sure what caused the latest episode of confusion and treat what is causing it. If it is Cdiff I would opt for her to be treated elsewhere before returning home, particularly if there are other family members around. I would be worried about spreading the infection.

Please let us know how it is going with your mother. She probably has good years ahead if she gets the right treatment. Do they know for sure she has Cdiff. I am hoping that she doesn't. It always complicates things, as well as making her feel terrible.
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First thing in the morning, talk to the discharge coordinator and inform them you cannot take care of her anymore, and work with them to get proper placement. Getting into a nursing home is easier if the patient has been in the hospital for 3 days. You are right, she needs 24/7 care and it takes a team of nurses and aides to do that.
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