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My wife with dementia is in the psyh ward of our local hospital. I have been visiting every day for as long as they permit, helping her with meals, removing her restraints and walking with her. Am I helping or interfering with her care? The nurse and caregivers are are so nice they would not ask me to be less involved. But I feel my being there prevents them from doing what is best for my wife, such as restraining her, and undermines their authority in her mind and is not helpful. Should I practice tough love and reduce my interference for my wife's sake.

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Warren, you wife's situation is a little different than say, someone with dementia going into a nursing home but all the same, I believe that you are likely helping her and the staff would tell you if you should back off. Talk with the doctor about this. If he or she thinks you visit too much you'll be told.

However, you do have to consider yourself, as well. This is for the long haul and if your physical or emotional health breaks down you will both suffer. You need to take some time for yourself and do what you enjoy - guilt free.

Try to find a balance that is best for your wife and still gives you breathing room. I can only think that your visits are helpful in that people can easily feel abandoned if they don't see people they love. But every day may not be the best.

Talk with your spiritual leader if you feel that would help.

Again, balance is what it's about. Take care of yourself and you are taking care of your wife.
Carol
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Warren; you have SO much insight into this! I think if I were in your shoes, I would ask the Director of Nursing or the Social Worker for you wife's case what they think.

In general, when a dementia patient is making a permanent transition to a facility, if they have been prone to throwing tantrums, for lack of a better word, some places advise families to stay away for a week while the patient gets settled. (I could never do that to my mom; she doesn't have tantrums).

But your wife isn't making a permanent transition to a psych hospital, at least I don't believe so. She's there to get her meds adjusted. Tough love works when the patient has the capacity to learn from it. Sadly, most late stage dementia patients (which I believe is how you characterized your wife in another post) no longer have the capacity to learn from experiences.

But I would be guided by the professional, supervisory staff in this instance.
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How are you holding up? Asking her doctor would be the best thing, as described above, but I would also consider your mental and physical health. Being in a hospital in that capacity is very draining. I'd consider how to keep your reserves up, since, you are dealing with so much. As long as she's getting excellent care, I'd use some time focus on things that need attention elsewhere and to recharge your batteries.
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Warren I think you are helping your wife by feeding her, supervising when the restraints are off and walking her around. Even nice staff will advise when you are being harmful to her treatment. From your descriptions I believe your involvement can only be helpful. She is in a strange environment and it must be frightening to be restrained.
I found it very annoying to be in a bed or chair with an alarm plugged in because they said I was fall risk and not allowed to move to sit on the bedside commode without summoning an Aide.
No one can tell how much your wife comprehends at this time but if she appears to be comforted by your presence keep up the good work you cannily do good. however i would add do take some time for yourself, you need to be strong if she returns home.
You are being very helpful to the staff because all the time you spend with your wife is time spared for them.
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Warren - I truly believe they would tell you if your visits were detrimental to your wife. The medical staff will put your wife's care and recovery well above being cordial to you. I'm sure of it.
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My mom just spent a month in a geriatric psych facility where visiting hours were only one hour a day. My mother who is in a nursing home, is very dependent on me. It is always a problem if I leave town for a few days as she gets agitated when I do not visit, I felt like I should not go to the hospital every day so that they could have an accurate picture of the agitation without me and adjust the medications accordingly.
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I will ask the nurse but since they are so nice I'm sure they will say 'please visit often and help in any way you wish'. That is probably what they are told to say. I'm looking for an honest answer for what is best for my wife. I certainly don't want to hinder their good work.
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Warren, from my experience with my mom, and from reading on here, if you are visiting too much, or getting in the way, they tell you. When my mom was in rehab, both her PT and speech therapist asked me in the nicest possible way to mot show up for every therapy session.
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Warren, good morning! It is a difficult choice especially when you have become accustomed to visiting every day. My suggestion is not so much for your wife as it is for you. As several other posters suggest, balance is the key. Take some time to develop things outside the caring situation for your wife. It will strengthen you and help her as well. Be well,
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Warren, dont let anyone tell you what to do , its your decision. Follow your heart, you're a wonderful person. Take time for you too ♡
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