Hello! I am seeking any guidance or similar experiences for reassurance. Thank you in advance for taking time out to read this post
My mom is only 68 but has been dealing with dementia for years now (originally diagnosed with PPA but now likely to have progressed to frontotemporal). After a really rocky start moving into an MC unit at AL near me (lots of changes involved - new state, first time living in a facility, during COVID restrictions, loss of English language, etc) she was admitted into a psych facility to balance out her medication. It was a short stay (~10 days) that required a negative COVID test for admission for each patient and a negative test upon discharge. When it was time for discharge, mom tested positive to everyone's surprise, since she had 0 symptoms. Since her AL facility was also dealing with an outbreak at the same time, they allowed her to come back but required that she quarantine for 10 days upon return. This is obviously really difficult for dementia patients in general and since she had no symptoms and was physically quite active, she was out and about, seemingly asymptomatic and easily agitated when the staff tried to redirect her back to her room. Eventually the virus did get to her, unfortunately, and on around day 5, she fainted in her room and was sent to the ER to rule out any head trauma after her fall (she's never fallen before). Well, they ruled out head trauma but ended up admitting her with COVID pneumonia instead! She was hospitalized for 10 days, with each day bringing a different challenge, but luckily she never required a ventilator and ended up showing mild symptoms. Once they considered her "COVID recovered", they recommended short-term rehab. I reluctantly agreed but now she's been in rehab for nearly 2 months!
It was just October when she was too active for the AL to control her, now she is essentially wheelchair confined, barely speaking, but most concerning is that she has recently started pocketing food. ST doesn't seem to think that she has physical trouble/pain when swallowing though. I've been working with the staff daily to try different remedies to encourage her to eat/drink but nothing seems to be working. A good day for us is when she drinks a total of 8oz of juice and 3 full spoonfuls of food after 1hr of - that is simply not enough! She has lost 10lbs since admission but only 1lb over the last week. She's a healthy weight currently for someone her age/height, but if she continues to require a full time pureed diet she will require moving into a skilled nursing facility or worse... Currently she's on an IV for hydration and dealing with a UTI (also on a liquid IV antibiotic for that).
Could this be COVID side effects? Or does this sound like natural progression of her dementia? It just seems like she has regressed SO quickly if the latter. I am hopeful for some answers to encourage her to eat again but really at a loss... Any advice/suggestions would be much appreciated!