Hi all. New member here and have a concern I would like your opinions and thoughts on. I have been a Private Duty Caregiver for years, self employed. I simultaniously work stints in hospitals and other facilities. I have had one client/family for nearly 8 years. They are the loveliest people and family I have ever been blessed to work for, and one of the client’s daughters and I have become extremely close friends through this time.
As the Dad in family has deteriorated the past 3 years with severe dementia, this daughter, my friend, has given up everything in her life to care for her father 24/7 round the clock. She has a wonderful heart, is very sacrificing and loving to her father. As a hired caregiver, I give her reprieve, but she is still his primary caretaker, and it has clearly taken its toll on her physical and emotional health these past 3 years. Her dad is in a constant state of agitation and sleep deprivation. Her dad is 99 yrs old.
Recently the Dad developed acute heart failure. He swelled like a balloon with oxygen levels in the 60’s. He was rushed to hospital and has been in ICU getting great care, however his heart is only functioning at 20%, and he is a full code. He also has aspiration pneumonia. He is but a shadow of the man I have know through these years.
My problem is my friend, his daughter, is in absolute denial and feels he will completely recover to lead a full life when he is released, despite the dementia. If doctors even suggest comfort, she rages at them and thinks they just want him dead and don’t care. She is unable to view the situation with any sense of reality. In truth I feel she is delaying the inevitable and prolonging his suffering because she is unable to let him go. She has revolved her entire life around him for 3 years. The heroics they are doing is shocking. As her friend, what can I do to help her grasp reality, if anything? Any suggestions?
Finally, my friend feels that although her dad is in ICU with a 1 to 1 ratio nurse to patient care, that she should be there at the hospital 24/7, or if she cannot be there, has a hired companion so he is never alone. Through the years she has put him in a facility for a one week respite care occasionally, and even then has hired companions in addition to staff 24/7. To me this seems extremely obsessive and I don’t understand it. In all my years I have never seen a family member who feels their loved one shouldn’t be without constant companionship ever, even for an hour to get lunch in the cafeteria. In addition to nursing staff. What is this about? Is this obsessive? I want to understand my friend. She has an opportunity to at least go home during the night to get some sleep, and she refuses, even though the nursing staff are taking great care of him. If she has to run to the store and leave hospital for an hour, she will hire someone to sit with him in the ICU for that hour. Can anyone shed any light on this for me so I can better understand my friend/employer? Thanks guys.