Can the NH my Mom is in make me stay with her 32 to 48 hours a week to cover a shift no one will take?

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My mom has been in a nursing home for six weeks now. She has never adjusted and hates it. She has become violent with staff and residents. She wants me to be with her 24/7 and asks for me when I'm not there. I tried having her live with me and it became too much for me. She never wanted me out of her sight and wanted me to stop living my life to take care of her and entertain her (quit my job, have no friends or outside activities unless she liked them or felt like being involved, no day care, etc.) She even asked my husband where I was and when I was coming back every 30 seconds when I went to the grocery store and scolded me for leaving when I got home. The nursing home had to hire extra staff so she is never alone and because she has become violent, they don't have enough people to watch her all the time anymore. I have to sit with her 8.5 hours from 2 to 10:30 p.m. four to six times a week now. Sometimes I don't even get a break. I am overwhelmed and feeling like hiding under a rock. I still have my job but can't work right now so it's a matter of if they find someone to replace me before I can go back. I have always had a strained relationship with my mom but have forgiven her, but don't want to relive the dysfunction. The nursing home thinks she should be in a psych ward. She has Alzheimer's with hallucinations, delusions and bizzare behaviors. She thinks I am her sister or mother. Sometimes she remembers me as her daughter, but not very often. She is still ambulatory and yet complains of leg and foot pain because she is walking way too much. Any suggestions or just encouragement?

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I'm not getting paid anything to sit with her. I am going to try and find something else for her. She only has Medicare/MediCal. I guess I will need to try and find someone to evaluate her myself if they don't offer that where she is. I was very grateful to them for taking her because I was desperate to get some relief after having her at my home for 7 weeks. It was difficult to get anything done with her here as she didn't even want me on the phone. She had tantrums every time I talked to anyone but my husband and even tried to hear all of our conversations. I got a call from the office manager where she lived in an apartment four hours away saying I needed to come get her or move in with her as she couldn't be alone anymore. I had no idea what I was in for and didn't realize she was such a handful. I moved out when I was 17 years old. I am the only one in my family who can do anything for her and I was the number one contact for her when she could no longer care for herself. The other two on the list are not able to help and no other family members are available. Thank you for your encouragement. It makes me feel better.
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Everyone has given you very good advice. You also said you needed some encouragement, so here is some from me......hugs; you have been fantastic to do this even once much less 4-6 times per week.

It is OK to tell yourself that you cannot humanly do this; you are only one person and you are going to wear yourself out.

This nursing home does not sound like a good match for your mom; it seems they never should have admitted her in the first place. I would try to get her moved ASAP; even an emergency placement in a geriatric psych facility sounds like it would be safer for your mom and I think you would feel more at peace knowing she was where she could get some help.

My hope for you is that you can find a good memory care unit with the resources to truly take care of your mom. A good doctor and good staff will be very important.

Once you get her in a safer place, sit down with your husband or a good friend and think about what you are realistically able to do for your mom....how often you can visit and for how long, will you be able to take her for outings, bring her treats and surprises? Do you have others (family, friends, church) who can drop by? It sounds like your mom wants you to be the only person who does things for her, but I think you would feel better knowing that other people are there to check on things and take a little stress off your back.

Most of all...don't beat yourself up for accepting that you have done all you could do for your mom and now you need to take care of yourself. Peace and best wishes!
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The Nursing Home expects you to do WHAT?!! Good grief. are they paying you the rate they pay their staff? This situation is crazy.

Mom needs to be evaluated and treated. After she is stable she may need a different NH. But first things first. Get her evaluated, and then get her someplace that can handle her.

Hugs to you. This is really tough.
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Thank you so much for your advice. I will gather my strength to be more assertive and ask for a meeting with the MD. It is not easy to get that. I have never even met her attending doctor. I got a referral from an outside MD. I love my mom and want what is best for her but I can't fix her. That has been an ongoing problem with her my whole life. Thanks again.
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Moxie is giving you very good advice. Your mom can calm down if she is on the right medications. The nursing home wants her in a psych ward? If it is for evaluation and adjusting medication, it is a good idea. You can't keep up this pace much longer or you'll be in the hospital before she is. Have a long face-to-face talk with the nursing home MD about mom's condition. It may save YOU from a mental and physical breakdown.
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I believe what the nursing home wants is for your mother to get a Geriatric Psychiatric Evaluation. This is a way of getting your mother in to see a neurologist or Geriatric psychiatrist, who can observe her behavior, put her on medication and improve her condition and behavior. This would be a short term stay in the Geriatric Psych Ward - which is similar to a nursing home, except that it is locked so patients cannot leave. But it has typical rooms and day rooms and a cafeteria and arts and crafts and so forth. It seems to me that you have 2 options:

1. Allow you mom to have a Geriatric Psychiatric Evaluation - which would take 2 - 6 weeks depending on how long it takes to get her stabilized on medication.
2. Take your mom to a neurologist and have her put on something to control her behavior such as Risperdol.

I have some concern over the way your mother's current nursing home is handling this situation. Honestly, their doctor should know how to treat your mother and he should be trying different medications and different dosages. For example with Risperdol, you might start with the lowest dosage and see slight improvement, but then increase the dosage and have considerable improvement. Perhaps, you need to investigate other facilities for your mother. Specifically, your mother needs to be in a memory care facility. There are many of these and they are specially equipped to deal with Alzheimer's patients. I think that may be a better environment for your mother than a nursing home.
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