From Debbie M, Philadelphia, PA:
"As a long term care nurse who works on a personal care unit with lots of residents with dementia, I loved your article. My facility...is an Eden certified facility. PLEASE google Eden and tell your listeners to find out if a facility is Eden certified. Eden care is person centered NOT medical centered. Our residents and their families become our families."
(I googled Eden communities as directed, since I always do what my listeners tell me to do... and unfortunately found only one in all of FL... hopefully there's many more in your State. This is something we can get behind, as I will, by bringing this to the attention of the administrator of Mom's facility; you can do the same in your area.
"How true all of this is. I just wish I had known that Hospice is available before the person is near death but while they are in permanent decline."
This is an excellent point and something I neglected to mention last week.
Hospice care is fully covered by Medicare, and is no longer relegated to the final weeks of life for home/ALF/NH services (the "weeks from dying" restriction is for only those who wish full-time care at a hospice facility). Once medically cleared for these services (eg the patient is clearly at an end of life stage, like my mother, but could last months or even years), hospice offers up to 20 hours a week of nursing and extensive home care, for as long as the patient lives.
From Jack T, Sarasota, FL:
"You forgot to mention the importance of having all your parents' legal affairs in order, particularly making sure you have their durable power of attorney so you can make any and all decisions for them if needed, you are their health proxy so you can make medical decisions for them, and that they have a living will so their end of life wishes are honored."
Well said. For folks in Sarasota, we recommend Theresa Bowman, Esq, of Boyer & Jackson, PA (we had her on the show, she's that good), and with locations throughout FL, Joseph F. Pippen Jr. & Associates (he also has a show on many Tampa AM stations)
"Having worked in skilled nursing facilities for the past 20 plus years, I know how difficult it is for families. Some places are better than others. Don't be afraid to ask questions."
Absolutely. And if the staff start exhibiting frustration with you for asking "too many questions" go directly to the facility's Director of Nursing and/or Administrator. If your elder is in even a half-way decent facility, the folks running it want to know when staff are being unresponsive. If upper management doesn't care, or nothing changes, get your loved one into another facility immediately. As Mary indicates, some places are better than others, far better in fact. Don't ever accept poor care - there's plenty of competition for your care dollars.
Finally, here's a helpful article from the Mayo Clinic on how to best handle long-distance caregiving, something I touched on last week but warrants more attention since many of us are in such a position. I hope this helps to cope with it more effectively.
Thanks everyone, and...
You have been officially alerted.