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My grandma is showing signs of dementia, and her doctor won't listen. She changes her colostomy bag, she used to use gloves and washed her hands, but she refuses anymore. We have been telling her to make sure to do that. She gets really defensive and angry and says that germs won't spread because "she was a rn and knows what to do". She will start insulting us. We forced her to use gloves again, but she has leaks alot and gets covered in shit. Pardon my language. She won't bathe, wash her hands, anything. Then she starts touching all the food and its disgusting. My husband talked to her doctor about it but the doctor doesn't care! What can I do about this? A few months back she broke some ribs and had an O.T. come out, she lied to O.T, says she takes showers and sponge baths when she doesn't at all. All she does is lie around in bed all day and night. Why won't anyone listen to me and my husband? I don't know what to do and I have to throw out all the food she touches and we pay for it! Help!

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Well, then she's going to get more ill. That is super gross! Hope about an in-home aide?
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Dear Jessicam 1990, some people mentioned seeing a specialist - yes! I thought of the same thing as Rosebush - Purell! You could even tell your mother it's massage lotion, and of course, use it for yourself. JoAnn29 is also right. It may be very difficult but I believe our own emotional health is worth it, and the relief you will feel of knowing the staff WILL wash your mother and make sure she is clean when eating. They can do it better, because they they are professional and objective, whereas we family members are not, especially with the extreme stress of caring at home. Blessings to you and family...
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If it's dementia, your pleas for her to be more careful won't help. In her mind, she's doing things properly. I think I might be upset with the doctor, but instead of wasting time on him, I might find a new one. It sounds like he has his own problems.

Do you know how long she's been mishandling the bag? It may have been going on for a while and you didn't notice. Before my cousin was diagnosed with dementia, I observed her pick up dirty kitty litter, go to the bathroom and wipe her nose, then start to prepare food for me to eat in the kitchen WITHOUT washing her hands. I watched. I interrupted and told her what I had witnessed and she said I was wrong and that she had washed her hands. I told her that I would not be able to eat what she prepared if she didn't wash her hands, but she still refused........ So, there is no reasoning with them. The only option will be to take control over the changing of the bag. That will likely mean constant supervision.

I wish you and your family all the best. It's a very tough thing to go through.
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Something's changed, if she was managing her colostomy fine before and now she isn't. Do you have a continence care specialist nurse or anyone like that to call on? - someone she might take advice from?

If it were me, I'd call the doctor myself and get the OT back in, too, for good measure. Something's going badly wrong - properly managed, there shouldn't be leaks, or only infrequently anyway; plus you've noticed a major change in her behaviour - and it's not good enough for the doctor to shrug it off.

Meanwhile, try not to give her a hard time about it - not because I blame you, I'd want to run round in circles screaming my head off, but because the more defensive and ashamed she feels the less she'll listen to you and things will just get worse. See if you can find out the reasons for these changes, best of luck.
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Sounds like you need a new doctor. HOWEVER, remember, the doctors today are interviewing and reviewing past records before they take on a new patient. They check to make sure they will be paid etc. I am sorry this is happening for you. Rosebush had a great idea. Purell everywhere. It must be hard for you and your husband to see her eating food without washing her hands. Have you told her that you do not wish to touch her hands or hug her with her bad behavior? It might work. Be honest with her.
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In the meantime, I would put pump bottles of purell everywhere
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Whether in bed, on sofa or in car, a leak is a major mess! I suggested to my SIL that she learn how to change the bag for my brother because I felt, at times, he was too overwhelmed and not putting the bag on exactly as he should. My suggestion would be maybe grandma would let you help her change the bag. I know it is not pleasant but neither is a leak. With bathing and mom I kinda just said lets go shower, used a chair, I gave her a soapy rag, told her to wash what she could reach and I would do her back, legs and hair. Helping really made s difference but my mom was cooperative. I can imagine you are at your wits end and truly wish you are able to make some changes (whatever that may be) and find peace for Grandma and your family.
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If you think Grandma is showing signs of dementia a visit to the neurologist is definitely in order. I know with my mom that she stopped bathing (although she swore she did) and this is when we realized that she needed help. We later learned that she was afraid she would fall and that when she got into the tub, she wasn't sure what to do. My mom did not have a colostomy bag but my brother does so I know what you mean by shit all over! W
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Yes, think its time for a nursing facility. Even if short term. Is the bag tempory? If yes, another good reason for a NH. This is beyond u.
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Feed her separately. That might sound mean, but it's just not worth the risk of getting very sick yourself by sharing a table with her. Babalou has given you very good advice.
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It is well past the time for grandma to be seen by a dementia specialist. Call your nearby teaching hospital and ask for the name of a neurologist who specializes in the diagnosis of dementia.

I would try to find an excuse to call 911. Certainly the next time she falls or has a physical problem and refuses to see a doctor, I would call the EMTs. Once she's in the hospital, you can talk to the discharge folks about a suitable placement for her.

It's not easy and it's not as neat and simple as this description makes it sound. But you are going to get ill with E. Coli or worse.
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