Has anyone had a GOOD experience with a dementia evaluation done in a hospital setting?

Follow
Share

I’m curious to hear others’ experiences of having their loved ones evaluated for dementia in a hospital setting. My 97-year-old mother was admitted on Friday. Just 2+ days into this and I’m ready to yank her out of this place and just let her go home. It’s like a scene from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” and my mother is scared. I’m afraid this environment will make her worse than she is! Has anyone had a GOOD experience having a hospital eval done? How many days was your loved one there? The whole situation has just been abysmal for us! In the ER, one clinician told us it would be a “short” 7-10 day visit (to which I replied “short? 7-10 days is an ETERNITY to a 97-year-old!), another told us it would be 7-14 days! We were given no say in where she would go, no choices, no time to do any research. Once she was in the hospital, I read that it could be a 12-14 day stay!! No way! Not leaving my mother in this hell hole for that long! Anyway, thanks for your responses.

Find Care & Housing
8

Answers

Show:
Have you tried calling her local Office of Aging and ask how to go about getting a needs assessment?
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Pepsee
Report

I feel your concern and frustration! My Mom never showed the symptoms I complained about at her Dr visits. 

I'm sure that's why they admitted her to the ward, for observation. But it seems they didn't do much observing. You could always explain she needs more time there. Which I know you'd hate to do.

What I would do, since she trusts you, bring in an aide anyway. Tell her this is a friend of yours who is just there because you can't be. Or whatever story you think she'd buy.

No, she won't like it but hey, Mom needs a higher level of care. Being alone is dangerous, and you'll never forgive yourself if she gets hurt.

It's either that or place her in a facility. Which would be difficult beings she not deemed incompetent.

What I had to do with my Mom, to get her out of her senior apt., Was tell her the state was going to put her in a nursing home. That the neighbors were complaining she was walking around the building, bouncing off walls, very sick.

If Mom remembers being out at night looking for you, she might comply it if you say that she must let your *friend* help her out at home. Or her night strolls will be reported by neighbors, and she'll be sent to a NH. And it is out of your hands if they do report her.

It's worth a try. Regardless of *how* you do it, it must be done.

Good luck.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Pepsee
Report

When the person I cared for was tested for dementia, it was done in his hospital room by a psychiatrist. The problem was the psychiatrist had his abusive son in the room and the patient refused to speak and just stared off into space. He was declared incompetent and I was called. I had to call a meeting with the social worker, doctors and the floor supervisor and explain that the person in the room was violent and the patient would respond that way if he were around. I demanded a second evaluation with no one around and the diagnosis was reversed.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to tacy022
Report

Mom’s been increasingly showing signs of dementia for the past couple of years at least. Nothing that would indicate she was in danger, though. The past 6 weeks or so, however, things have gotten worse. She’s much more paranoid, believing the sprinkler system in her apartment is a listening device that the caretaker installed so he could listen to her conversations. When she started “seeing” me in various dangerous situations outside after dark, and went outside in an agitated state to look for me and help me, I got scared. Thank God there was someone sitting outside having a cigarette each time she did this, because they stopped her and got her back into her apartment! She believe that I was living with the people in the house behind her (of course, I have no idea who those people are, have never met them), that I fell and was laying in the road needing help one night, that I was sitting in a car with a blanket over my head when it was 95 degrees out another time. I tell her I was NOT there, and she tells me I’m lying. I tell her that if she is worried about me she should call me to see if I’m ok, she tells me she hates using the phone. I tell her that I hate the phone, too, but that is the quickest way to know if someone’s ok! A day or two later, she’s outside looking for me again.

I call her twice a day every day, whether I’m at home, camping, visiting a friend, it doesn’t matter, I call her in the morning and around dinnertime every day that I am not there, and lately I’ve been driving an hour each way every other day because she has proven that she can’t take care of herself anymore. I fix her pill boxes, but she stopped taking her pills. If I go there and hand them to her with water, she’ll take them, otherwise she “forgets.” I have tried calling her and saying, “Go get your pills right now and take them, I’ll wait.” It doesn’t work. Also, she pees in her commode at night because the bathroom is not in the bedroom, too long of a walk half asleep, so she pees and sometimes poops in the commode and it will sit there getting deeper and smellier until I get there to empty it. If I didn’t go for a week, it would sit there for a week. She REFUSES to allow me to hire some help to come in saying, “I can take care of myself,” and “There are a lot of friends that I can call for help” (only, she never does call anyone).

I have been trying to get her to agree to go visit her doctor to see if she has a UTI, but she refused because she feels no symptoms or pain and she doesn’t understand how an illness down there can affect her thinking. But, I FINALLY got her to go to the doc this past week! She went into their bathroom to pee in the little bowl ... and MISSED. There was no urine that they could test!!! So, the doc sent her to the ER for the urine test. That’s where everything unraveled. She exhibited all kinds of symptoms of dementia there, they did a mini-test which showed that she scored 16 out of 30, moderate dementia. They told me the only way to get a real diagnosis was to send her to a hospital with a geri-psych department for a full evaluation. That is where she is now. I was not given a choice where she went, they just told me where they were sending her. If I had been given even a couple of hours to do a little research and a list of facilities with beds available, I could have made a bunch of phone calls and done some research to make a better selection, but they did not give me any say.

So, now she’s in a locked geri-Psych unit. My mother is a very quiet person. She doesn’t watch TV, listen to music, go out and socialize very much. She won’t play games or puzzles, do crafts, etc. She just sits there in her quiet apartment day after day, hour after hour. The sounds of neighbors using power equipment, playing music outdoors, or even her upstairs neighbor walking back and forth (Mom’s ceiling creaks) drive her crazy. Sunday, I sat with her for four hours (I’m not allowed in her room, so we can only visit in common areas) and there were two patients who would NOT sit in their chairs, so their alarms were beeping CONSTANTLY and loudly. One was a belligerent woman who kept yelling and swearing at staffers who tried to make her sit, and the staffers got exasperated and began raising their voices. The man finally got off his chair, removed the alarm and started to take it apart as it beeped. When a staffer tried to take it away from him, he began screaming for help, saying he was being robbed. Then staffers were trying to trade other items for the alarm and the man was having none of it. Another man decided he was not going to wear pants, was out in the hallway with just a gaping diaper on and he kept removing the blanket that covered him, exposing his private parts through the gap. They finally removed him, but the way they did it was unconscionable - they wheeled him out on his recliner, stopped in front of where we were sitting, picked him up under the armpits and DRAGGED him into the isolation room. The adolescent psych unit is across the hall, and a girl escaped from that unit and ran screaming right up to the doors to geri-psych screaming, “HELP ME!” It took several minutes for them to subdue and quiet her out in the hall, so we listened to the screaming for at least 5 minutes. Need I tell you that after all of that, my mother was convinced that we were going to be killed?! She wanted to go to her bed and just wait for what was coming.

Yes, I reported all of this to the PA and social worker immediately and said told them that this is NO environment for my mother! Any issues that she arrived with are going to be worse after being exposed to all of this. And what’s worse ... visiting hours during the week are only 5:00 - 7:00pm, so she has to wait almost 24 hours to see me again, and I’m the only comfort she has!

So, as of yesterday, they said that when they’ve met her she is pleasant, compliant and conversational. They see none of the behaviors that I had listed that take place at home. They have no reason to keep her and will release her tomorrow, undiagnosed. Interestingly, they have never met with me, we have only had short phone conversations. Yesterday, the social worker told me that she was unable to even order my mother to hire help in “because your mother tells me there are a lot of people she can call in her building for help, that she has many friends who visit, help her and bring her food.” I said, “That’s BS! There are 28 apartments of elderly and disabled people, but they are all like her! There is one woman who visits daily for 5 minutes and brings her a slice of pie or something occasionally, and she is 81 years old with her own health issues. Last week when it was 95 degrees outside, I called her at 3 pm and she said she was about to pass out from the heat, she couldn’t figure out how to turn on the A/C or fan. She had been sitting in that heat ALL DAY not drinking water, not calling any of those ‘friends’ for help, but she wanted me to drive an hour to turn it on for her! I called the 81 year old and asked her to go turn on the A/C. And I’m tired of bothering that woman, but my mother would be furious if I called anyone else!” Oh, well, the social worker didn’t know that was going on.

She also told me that the only thing my mother showed any unease about was that she’s worried about me. I said, “Why is she worried about ME?” The social worker couldn’t answer that. I said, “I am FINE. There is nothing wrong with me. This is part of her paranoia: if she was sitting at home with nobody to talk to, she would worry about me, and work herself into such a state that she finally thinks she sees me laying in the street, or sitting in a hot car, or she hears me crying outside, and finally around 9pm she’ll go outside looking for me!” Oh, well, she didn’t know that, either.

I am just beside myself, at my wit’s end. Today this social worker is going to court, and she won’t be at the hospital. Tomorrow, as far as I know, I’m supposed to pick her up at 1 pm and take her home. Where she will continue to refuse help, stop taking her pills again, and the cycle will continue. And yes, I am her POA, but unless someone declares that my mother in incapable of making sound decisions, I am powerless.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Quint41
Report

I would figure a dementia test would be outpatient. or even an MRI as an outpatient. they (docs)weren't able to admit my mom 88 years old with pneumonia to a hospital. they treated her as out patient.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to wally003
Report

Ask for a patient advocate. If the hospital does not have one, they will send administrative staff and help rectify any problems.

I had like 12 people in my dads room because he was getting subpar treatment, like he's old, hes dying, he don't matter. Oh h**l NO, take care of him in a professional manner or that flash you see is your career dying. I will pursue you never harming another human being to the end of the earth. I was calm and quite and my husband said terrifying, the look on my face and in my eyes told everyone, I'm not playing games. I hate to say it but, most hospitalists are there because they can not have a private practice, bedside manner or obvious lack of care, who knows why, but that's where they come from.

Stand up and advocate now, have round the clock loved ones by her beside taking notes and recording everything. This usually shows the hospital that you are serious about the level of care your loved one receives.

I pray this helps you and your loved one get through this hard trial.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Isthisrealyreal
Report

My mother was admitted to the hospital for a raging UTI in 2013. It was a great hospital and they took good care of her. Even when they had her infection under control, the nurses noticed something just wasn’t “right” with her. She was combative, slugging the nurses and wound up tied to the bed rails because she kept pulling out her IV and trying to get out of bed. I’m sure she was scared as well but she was where she needed to be.

What was your mom admitted for? What is it about this hospital that causes you to call it a “hell hole”? I understand because after she was admitted to the nursing home, she was 911-ed to a hospital close by. When I went to speak with her nurse, the nurse sat at her computer talking to her visiting boyfriend and eating Doritos, ignoring me.

You can yank your mom out, but is she in the hospital because she’s ill and needs treatment? Does she have somewhere to go? If she has dementia will you care for her long-term?

You are not in this alone. Hospitals have social services departments and ombudsmen. If Mom’s care is so bad, make your voice heard. Insist on being notified before any procedure or evaluation. Are you on her HIPPA form? Do you have POA for her? These things will help to make your voice “louder”.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Ahmijoy
Report

Have to disagree with one thing there, Quint - the older you are, the faster time passes. This week or two will be eternity for you, worrying away, but not for your mother.

Next: the calmer you are, the better you can support your mother. What sort of thing is frightening her? Are there procedures and schedules going on that don't make sense to you either, or can you see why the set up is as it is?

What led to her admission for assessment, if you don't mind my asking?
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Countrymouse
Report

Related
Questions