I'm scared & scrambling to find options. My 70 yr old sister is in a wheelchair (deformed ankle after 2 breaks) and it should have been amputated a long time ago but she refuses. Her hands are pretty weak so she uses her good foot to get around in her wheelchair. She also has had long term psychiatric issues (diagnoses ranged from paranoid schizophrenia to bipolar disorder w/ depression to personality disorders). She's gained a good deal of weight the last two years (235) due to meds/inactivity & needs more & more help with just about everything. Her social skills are lacking, in that she can be demanding and often impatient with the staff. She's complained about the way she is spoken to, (if half of what she says is true it's appalling) rushed, and always made to feel unworthy of their assistance. The ole he said she said. Needless to say, she is not well liked. She told me yesterday the director stated "I want you out & will do everything necessary to make that happen". I fear they will ship her to a psych hospital and dump her. They've done that 2x before but this time I'm guessing will refuse her back. My first instinct is she shouldn't be there anyway if that's how they feel about her but worried about her being black balled or something. Plus, if a person does have documented mental illness and is obviously handicapped, should they be held to the rules of polite social protocols in a nursing home? She can be very argumentative and manipulative but it seems they just want bedridden, comatose residents that don't question or talk back at all. Any advice will be much appreciated as I'm going Tuesday morning to discuss. I'm so scared they will say she needs to be in a physiatric long term hospital unit & that would certainly not be in her best interest. Thanks very much for listening.

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I thought NHs were the cure for many seniors ills?
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Nursing homes can only handle patients whose outbursts are well-controlled with appropriate medications. If her meds need adjusting, get it done and be sure it's a psychiatrist titrating the meds and not the facility's Nurse Practitioner. It's not fair to let your sister live in a constant state of fear/anxiety/paranoia or numb her into submission.
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Please do not let society's perception of mental hospitals turn you off to them. Your sister needs to be in a specialized hospital. Her mental issues are far worse than her bum leg. Check out Mental Health America and the National Institute for Mental Health.
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Are you her Healthcare POA? Is that why the NH is meeting with you? Are you privy to her medical records? Is that how you know her previous diagnosis? When was the last time she was evaluated? Maybe something else is going on with her.

I agree that it's difficult to know how much of what she is telling you is accurate. Perhaps her perception is skewed. But, if she is not faring well in the NH, I would want to know how to help her. Wouldn't having her evaluated and treated in a psychiatric hospital a good way to do that?

I know someone who's father resides in a long term care mental facility and he's done quite well there for over 7 years. I wouldn't write all places like that off in a negative way, since they could be a better fit for your sister. I might let the professionals give their opinion. They may have some good ideas.
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CathyCanes, how are you sure that a psychiatric setting would not be in her best interest? You could be right, and I'm not trying to argue with you about it -- I just want to hear your thinking on this topic.

Your profile says that her main impairment is mobility issues, but long-term psychiatric issues (schizophrenia? bipolar disorder?) would seem to me to be possibly just as serious. Are you sure you are not underestimating how big a role that plays in her needs?

Based on loved ones I have with psychiatric issues, paranoia can easily make someone feel disrespected or harshly spoken to, even when that is not the intention of the speaker. They are not "lying," but speaking the truth as they see/feel it. It is just not a truth that matches objective reality. Again, I am not saying this is so for your sister. It is possible that the nursing home is negligent and/or abusive. I just want to point out taking her word for it may not give you an accurate picture.

I congratulate you for your concern. Every one with mental health issues should have an advocate as loving as you are for your sister.

It sounds like the facility where she is now is not well-equipped or well-prepared to handle her. I sincerely hope you find a suitable setting to deal with all of her needs.
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