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My mom is going back to her Assisted Living next week. However because of her cognitive decline, she will now be in their Memory Care Unit. They are moving her things and getting her room ready. However since I have had her with me for 2 months there is a 14 day isolation rule with one exception, 2 negative Covid tests. I would take her on Monday to a test center for a nasal swab, then take her again on Wed on the way to return. Then she would only have to be in isolation until Monday test came back (negative). So potentially only a couple of days. If she doesn't do both tests, its 14 days.


Anyone taken someone with dementia for test. How did they react?


They were really trying to discourage me, but she really reacted badly in isolation before (exposed to a staff member with covid) which is partly why I brought her home temporarily. But I can't do it anymore. I trust that these people will provide a safe environment for her. It's just going to be hard, I know she will be upset.
I figure a minute or two of discomfort during testing is better than 14 days of aloneness, especially in a new environment.

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This LO was a five year old. My daughter told him that it would hurt a little bit just for a second, then it would all be over. She said a bit like a vaccination injection. He was fine, rolled up his own sleeve ready, watched, and asked if they wanted to do it again! A warning and a calm confident companion seems to be the go.
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Seen many people with dementia swab tested. It's fine. Really.

Different approaches will work for different people: prep talk beforehand for some (explaination it is uncomfortable but count to ten all done). Some will bat you away but be fine a second time & focus on the reward (someone holding the can of lemonade). Nervous tyoes may have a relative on FaceTime for support.

If staff can be a little patient & creative, it can be done without drama or upset.
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I had the test today at Kaiser. The nurse said they no longer stick the qtip way up your nose as they once did......she inserted it one inch into my nose, rubbed it around, let it sit there for 15 seconds while I breathed normally, then did the same thing in the other nostril. That was it. Not uncomfortable at all and finished in 45 seconds.
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My mother had one weekly for about six weeks in her nursing home, and if it was uncomfortable, she'd have slugged someone.

To my knowledge she never did.
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It is more scary than uncomfortable. Best thing is to say not much about it. They usually stick that long swab in much farther than you think it can go, and it kind of feels like they are going for your eyes, or your brain. But it is extremely quick. Just say a q-tip in the nose. Don't say much more.
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I agree absolutely with Llamalover. Here there is a test centre, and people are given the throat and nasal swab. We are not hearing that the tests are very uncomfortable. If multiple people can administer them, I wonder how much ‘training’ they all get. So many things (having blood taken, innoculations, pap smear tests etc) can be more or less uncomfortable depending on the operator.

PS Llamalover, our alpaca Hector is still going strong, nearly 20 years old and still looking after our sheep.
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Llamalover47 Jun 22, 2020
MargaretMcKen: Thank you for the nod!
Omg - that is so great about your llama, Hector! How wonderful that he herds your sheep. Always wanted to own a llama, but my Community Association wouldn't allow it.
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Imho, there must be a less painful way to administer a test for the Novel Coronavirus.
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Beatty Sep 11, 2020
Saliva & breath tests are in testing stage... Hurry up I say!
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Well my Mom did the first swab today. She was super anxious and nervous and almost refused to get up off the couch and go. But she finally gave in. Told her her doctor needed her to do it and it would help to protect her family and friends and that made her grudgingly comply.
They had a drive up area in the practices parking garage. So we drove in and they just did it in the car. The man was nice.
She did wince and say ouch but it was over very quick. They said we will have an answer in 3 days, so so far so good.

Hopefully the problems with short term memory will work in my favor this time, and she wont refuse the second test on Wednesday
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Yes, there has to be an easier Covid-19 test than those nasal swabs. Also, no nasal test should not be forced if too uncomfortable, maybe unsafe to do. To me, a it's a waste of money, since testing may not be entirely accurate, nor will last for even one day. All the best on such choices.
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mally1 Sep 11, 2020
Just now saw this; you are entirely right - waste of time, maybe pain, and a great deal of money! Get tested today, exposed 2 days later.....
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It's my understanding there is also a throat swab version that is easier/more comfortable than the nasal one. I'd be insisting on it or refusing. Even if I had to find it on my own.
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It is most definitely an uncomfortable process and my mom who has dementia was not happy about ( tested because of other issue that caused similar symptoms ). Reaffirming repeatedly that being in her room would not be fun she endured it twice as there was labelling issue and had to repeat it. Absolutely would deal with immediate stresses than long term any day. My mom had someone in the facility that she really like with her during the test which made it better and for that I am grateful. My mom's place has had no Covid positive persons and I am grateful for the diligence they have shown, Have mom tested and take care of yourself. I would have brought mom home too but know I couldn't long term but good for you to have given it your all. You are strong.
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Staff that perform the swab are full trained. Let the staff know about your mother's dementia before they swab her. It may not be pleasant but you shouldn't put things on hold for a short moment of discomfort.
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I hope you realize those swabs are excruciating and cruel and with someone with Alzheimer's how the "system" -- though legal-- colludes of abuse. I would not let them do it, which is why I never put my mom in any kind of facility. Let me assure you there is NOTHING safe about a nursing home, and if the loved one can't visit they really are vulnerable -- and at the mercy of abuse and neglect. That is why nursing homes get sued all the time. Since the nasal swabs are NOT accurate they repeat the test over and over and over and over again.
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Beatty Sep 11, 2020
If you came to work with me over the last few weeks, with the mix of Covid POS patients, Alz & swab tests I would challenge your current views & I bet, change your mind!

Elderley confused people who love their new 'home', chat, laugh & sing with staff, put up with a short test & enjoy lemonade afterwards.

I feel very sad that awful care exists.
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All residents in my Mom's nursing home were tested. I knew it was happening and every day I would ask Mom if she had the test. She always said no. Then I got a call from the nurse telling me Mom's test was negative. So she did have the test! When I asked her about it again, this time with more specifics about the swab up the nose, she said "Oh yes, I had that." So - as terrible as dementia is, the good thing is your Mom probably won't remember shortly after it's done. Being in isolation for 14 days, though, is a constant reminder that something isn't right and you know that could be very difficult for her.
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It depends on the person and on their stage of dementia. The nasal swabs are painful. I didn't even like taking it! I wouldn't even ask for my mother with advanced dementia to take a nasal swab test, she'd hate it. She also wouldn't understand wearing a mask and would probably tear it off. If your mother still understands what it is for and why she has to take it, it may be OK for her.
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My father’s MC facility had a worker test + for covid. All clients and staff were tested. I wasn’t allowed in, but Dad did allow it. He said it was uncomfortable, but not really painful. He was tested again two weeks later- same experience. Good luck!
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Not sure about your state, but here they have "Do it yourself' nasal swabs at pharmacy's like Rite Aid, and CVS. the swab is not shoved up to your "Brain" but merely a gentle swab around the inside of your nose, and also a "Spit test"..if you think she can do that, it would be more comfortable for her.
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I had to move my Mom for Covid safety.

She has memory issues which people like to label dementia. She has had a swab test twice. She reacted as would anyone experiencing pain.

With memory issues, prepping ahead of time was not helpful as Mom would not remember what was said. However, with memory issues she did not remember that the test was awful.
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If the CNAs have to wear masks, why does the resident have to? Especially in their own rooms? Ridiculous.
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gdaughter Jun 22, 2020
The CNA's are only in hopefully a limited amount of time, but both people wearing masks is more protective than only one. And masks are far more comfortable than the nasal swab.
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The nasal swabs are very uncomfortable for many seniors. In Illinois, they are now strongly encouraging all residents in AL to get one. I have a senior friend who took the nasal swab test here in central Illinois & she reported it was uncomfortable for a majority of the residences there, including her. If they all test negative - they were promised more "freedoms". Honestly, you don't want to know about how I feel about all these seniors being locked up and made to wear their masks in their apartment when a CNA comes in. It's gone beyond taking sensible measures. I don't think their mental health was ever taken into consideration at the beginning. But then again, I have 2 health care professionals in my family, my DIL is a Doctor in Chicago & her sister is a Nurse Practitioner in Iowa. So many things the public doesn't know about the ever evolving SARS Covid 19.
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Bella7 Jun 20, 2020
I would like to know how you feel about them being locked up in their rooms with masks because I have seen the devastating effects it has had on my parents. Yes, the nasal swabs are probably very uncomfortable I do agree to that!!
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I guess it doesn't hurt to try but those swabs are not always easy or pain free.
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Nasal swap is good if she is not frightened by it. I cannot get my husband to agree to do that. I am tested negative, so i assume he is too. Good luck.
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The nasal swab is way better than isolation!!!!!
It was nothing compared to being in an almost empty room with no personal things or socializing. Both of my parents got double isolation due to falls/ER trips and are no longer the same people they were before! Illinois can’t seem to get their “rules and policies” straight. My parents went to different ERs and none of the rules made sense or matched up! Mom is now in MC because of fast major decline and dad is in rehab from a fall 1 1/2 hrs away since all nursing homes in our town closed up because of Covid. He no longer wants to live.

Long story short, do the swab, according to the nurses that cared for my parents they didn’t seem to be really bothered by it, and the isolation is just not good on their mind at all!!

All these elderly people having to get the swabs, lockdown, and isolation just breaks my heart. They’ve got to be wondering what is going on in the world!
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I agree. Two quick tests better than 14 days of quarantine. Fingers crossed she is negative. Who was trying to discourage you?

Ask her doctor if taking something beforehand to help her to relax would make it less traumatic.

I had one a couple of weeks ago but I was on morphine at the time so my test might not be a good example of the level of discomfort to expect.

And it’s only seconds of discomfort, not minutes.

Let us know how it goes.
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