My mother only has 60% hearing with her hearing aids in place; she has "profound" hearing loss, and thus is considered almost deaf. 5 days before Christmas she fell and hit her head and has been in the hospital, then skilled nursing, and now back to a different hospital ever since. EVERY DAY, at each location, my brother has had to tell the nurses/doctors/staff that mom needs her hearing aids in. They take them out, LOSE them, etc. and then tell my brother that she is UNRESPONSIVE! They won't make a note in her chart or write something on the board in her room, so the next nurse/doctor/staff person knows. Then they proceed to make medical assessments basing some of them on her lack of responses to them. When mom tries to tell them about the hearing aids, they ignore her or don't believe what she is saying. THIS IS A SERIOUS PROBLEM on many levels. First, the lack of care of these very expensive items (almost $10K for the pair) by the staff, and second, even more important, the fact that THEY DON'T KNOW SHE IS ALMOST DEAF, and are making medical assessments and decisions on inaccurate information (ie. saying she is unresponsive due to her injury when it is as simple as she can't hear them!) My brother is extremely frustrated, as he can't be there 24/7 constantly reminding them about this and it happens EVERY TIME she is moved to a different room, gets new staff assigned to her, etc. I was there over the Christmas holiday and visited several times and witnessed it first hand. I do NOT understand why this information isn't part of her intake and a permanent part of her charts! It is just as important as knowing what meds she takes, if she has any contagious disease, etc. Why isn't this part of their intake questionnaire? Seems that most seniors have some hearing problems, and staff should be aware of this, as well as things like whether they wear glasses and/or dentures. WHAT CAN WE DO IMMEDIATELY TO RESOLVE THE PROBLEM FOR MY MOM? WHAT CAN WE DO TO MAKE THESE INSTITUTIONS CHANGE THEIR PRACTICES TO INCLUDE THIS INFORMATION ON A PERSON? I am considering filing a complaint under the Americans with Disabilities Act, but it will take time for any results to filter down to my mom. We need help IMMEDIATELY! I feel like this is patient neglect, and could potentially end in a tragedy for my mom, or others, because the hospital is making medical decisions on inaccurate information (ie. that she is medically unresponsive due to her injury or something else, not just because she can't hear them!) Please help!!

Do not say "hard of hearing". This gives the notion that the person hears somewhat without an hearing aide. I now tell people my husband is DEAF. Seems they listen better. Just because you use a hearing aide does not mean you hear and understand. I went to a seminar for the deaf and this was the first thing the speaker said. And its true. So make those signs say DEAF. You may want to require that you be there for any evals.
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Reply to JoAnn29

My mother went through this as well. When she was in the hospital I made a sign for above her bed that read “Heard of hearing” . I also made a sign that said “No blood draws in right arm” too as she had a mastectomy on that side. I wish I had thought to put this outside her room on her nameplate.

Most of the staff read the sign. It was not always effective but better than nothing.

Barb’s idea of handing out index cards to anyone who came into her room to speak with her is *genius*.

As for the hearing aides don’t leave them with her in the hospital if she isn’t able to take them out & store them in her drawer. Losing hearing aides & dentures happen quite a bit in those settings which is why in the admission paperwork it states the hospital isn’t responsible if lost. That’s how they cover their liability.

Most hospital rooms these days have those huge white boards the staff use to write the date & who their CG was that day (RN & aide). You could also note it there.

Good luck!
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Reply to Shane1124
Shane1124 Jan 15, 2019
“Hard of hearing” I meant! Geez Louise! Sorry for the typo.
This is a very important issue for those living in nursing homes. Too often aides don't put residents' hearing aids in, or don't pay attention to the need for new batteries. This reduces the quality of life terribly. I would go to the nurse manager about this, then the facilitiy director, so that all concerned get the message that you are looking out for your mother's best interests. If this problem isn't solved, document your input to the managers then contact your county ombudsman.
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Reply to minstrel

When you find out the answer come back and tell me.

My DH has had a hearing problem since her was 4 or 5 caused by an accident that crushed the bone behind the ear. Very important to the hearing process. He does not hear words clearly. He describes it as a static radio that you turn up the volume and still having a problem picking out words. Now that he has lost complete hearing in that year his other has maybe 30% when his hearing aide is in. His PCP wasn't even sympathetic to his problem. Husband would tell him to look at him when talking, he wouldn't. I called and told his nurse to put a BIG sheet of paper in his file with DEAF on it. We ended up changing doctors.

I have had to tell every shift, when he is in the hospital, that he is very hard of hearing. He also is completely deaf without his hearing aide. He actually wears his aide to bed because they bug him during the night and he needs to hear what they are saying. No, he doesn't sign.

You need to really BITCH to someone. You are past being nice. I have found that saying DH is deaf works better than hard of hearing. Maybe a medical bracelet would be a good idea. I would talk to a Social Worker. Explain this is causing problems with Moms evaluations. Also, that her aides are missing and you need them found. If not, you will be looking into the hospital paying for them.
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Reply to JoAnn29

Ddefinitely, a large print typed sign behind her bed, placed there by you or brother.

Also, print up index cards for mom to hand anyone who walks in the room who starts to question her that say "I cant hear without my hearing aids".

Get in touch with both the Patient Advocate and the Chaplain's office at the hospital and make your concern about your mother's mistreatment known.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn

Compose and print some A4 flyers that say "hearing impaired" or "make sure I can hear you" (adapt the message according to whom you expect to be reading it and what they'll likely be doing at the time) and take them, a stapler and some BluTac or similar to your mother's room and take the policy into your own hands. Post-It notes are useful, too; you can add comments and memos to hospital records without actually defacing them. [You could also stick 'I can't actually read' on the backs of repeat offenders, but of course I wouldn't myself dream of doing this]

I would never have left my mother's hearing aids with her in a hospital room. Is your mother able to insert and remove them and - above all - store them unaided? Because unless she can, there is Not A Snowball's Chance in Hades that this will go well. it just isn't worth it. I'm sorry to suggest adding to his burden, but it will be much better if your brother carries them with him and takes them home again after his visit.

You could also ask to see the template medical history and personal information forms being used on admission. I will place a modest bet that you will find that information about glasses and hearing aids is *already* catered for. There will be boxes, and you might even find on your mother's own form that it has been conscientiously completed... presumably so that they can ignore it better.

Why isn't it acted on? If you find out an answer to this question that doesn't flagrantly amount to "haven't got time" or "can't be arsed" please let me know because it will relieve my own frustration about it enormously.

I have striven, in my 35 years of active engagement in health services one way or another, to be a dream relative and not a nightmare. I am NEVER rude, I am always considerate of the workload on members of staff, I am always respectful and I try to be constructive. But I have also lost count of the times when I have been tempted to take a patient's notes and beat somebody round the head with them.

To be fair, I expect the reason the staff are being particularly dim with your mother is that, because she presented with a head injury, they are especially jumpy about her level of responsiveness and are so focused on it they're not remembering that they need to do that little bit extra to engage with her. Your brother had better take this up with whoever is directing mother's care - which is who?
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Reply to Countrymouse

How frustrating! I dont understand why “they” won’t make a note on her chart? the short term I would put a HUGE note on her wipe board (assuming she has one in the hospital) saying she’s Deaf. If her chart is kept in the room I would put a big stickynote on that too. Every caregiver you see who interacts with her make sure they know she’s deaf. (When my Mom lost her vision, I told everyone she came in contact with, since it didnt seem to be communicated timely through the care plan channels).
Next I would call her social worker and pitch a fit.
Then I would call the Ombudsman and pitch same fit.
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Reply to rocketjcat

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