My Mom is 88, and is palliative with colon cancer and liver cancer. She has some vascular dementia, which mostly just affects short term memory, but also some cognitive impairment. The cancer has only just started to cause occasional pain (in the liver area), and in general just seems to make her very, very tired. She sleeps a lot. She has lost some weight, but is still a big lady - maybe 230lbs.
She lives in a private retirement home in their AL wing. As part of that, we have access to 90 min of PSW help/day. In addition to that, we have someone with her 24/7. I am here 4 days a week, my brother 1 day, and government-provided PSWs cover 2 days. We pay PSWs to stay with her overnight to help her.
My Mom's world and capabilities have reduced to just moving between bed (a hospital bed), chair (a 3 position geri chair), and commode. These transfers are getting more and more difficult. We use a walker of course, and I recently added a transfer disc that we get her standing on, which helps to make the pivot easier. However she can't really bear much of her weight. I used to be able to do these transfers with just me helping her, but now I need to press the call button and get the AL PSW to assist. Even so, with two of us, sometimes it can be difficult. She has had a catheter for about 6 weeks and that certainly helps a lot, but even just going to the commode for BMs can mean a lot of transfers.
The retirement home has a strict no-lift policy - they require their residents (even in the AL wing) to be weight bearing. So we have been put on notice here - that the PSWs will not and cannot help to lift my Mom.
The government program would, I think, provide a Hoyer lift, but the retirement home will not allow it.
The retirement home is ok with her staying here, but only if she is either weight bearing, or else bed bound.
My Mom does not understand/remember much of what is happening. If she feels she needs to use the toilet, she would believe she could do so independently (and would try to) if we were not here to slow her down, get the helpers in place, grab her walker, etc. When I tell her that I need to get someone else to help us with the transfers she is incredulous and says I am ridiculous.
When we have been in the hospital previously, and she had to use diapers and get changed in bed, she found the process of rolling, and the wiping and clean up, very difficult - painful, an affront to her dignity, awful. She would cry out while we had her on her side "I can't do this! you have to stop!". So as you can imagine, I have not been in a rush to be in a diaper situation permanently.
But it feels like we should try to keep her in bed - see if she can tolerate it. See if we can find a routine that makes diaper changes less uncomfortable. That will mean she can stay here, which is a place that she and we like, and which is familiar. It will mean that our backs, and the PSWs', will be less at risk. I haven't injured myself (yet), but my back is low grade sore/tired all the time.
If we can't make her comfortable and content in bed, and she can't bear her weight, then we will have to move. And it seems like she still has a few months to live - so I am getting feedback that we may not be able to get her into a palliative care unit yet. So I don't know what will happen if we can't stay here - but I will figure that out if/when we get there.
For now, I want to try keeping her in bed, and see if this is viable.
I know she isn't going to like it. Even though we have talked it through, multiple times, she won't remember.
I plan to angle the bed so she has the best view of TV and window. I am going to get some nice sheets that will hopefully make the bed feel like a lovelier place to hang out.
Has anyone else had to do something similar? Any thoughts and suggestions are appreciated.