What do I do now, AL home called late to night

mikeandbarbNovember 2, 2008

The nurse called telling me dad insist that he's having a heart attack, they take his vitals and it's fine. Dad is just being very persistent at trying to get out. I don't understand why the nurse does not know how to handle this.

My fear is that if Dad does not settle down he'll end having to move and end up and some place really bad.

Dad has not been diagnosed with panic attacks but he has a long history of depression and I think most of his chest pain is from this.


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Talk to his doctor to review the medicines he's on to see if some reaction is causing the symptoms. Discuss his behavior. You may have to make an appointment instead of talking on the phone but if it will help, I'd do it.
Once it is discussed and decided what to do, make your dad an appointment. Let the doctor tell him he's not been having heart attacks, it's ---- . Then if some sort of sedative would help the anxiety and he prescribes it, tell your dad it's to help stop that chest pain.
They don't need to call you when he acts that way. They are to be professionals and know how to deal with the situations. If not, the director needs to look at the quality of staffing.
Hope you get some help from the doctor.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 3:16AM
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Barb, the posters here have questioned before whether or not this place is the proper place for him. They really don't seem to be staffed properly to take care of him. I hope that you will continue to look for a place that would work better for him. His behavior could get a lot worse and you are right, you probably will have to move him into another place.

Now is the time to find the best place. Put him on a waiting list if you don't want to move him now. But please look ahead and try to find a more suitable place.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 10:26AM
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I have to agree Barb, it is really time to hunt for a long term care nursing home that has an Alzheimer's unit. The staff in those units are much better trained to handle someone like your dad. They will not call you like this nurse just did, they will handle things and not bother you unless there is an emergency.
Go look, if you find a place you like then put your dad on a wait list. If you don't look now you will be faced with a "panic" move one of these days and for life of me I can not figure out why you would want to wait and put that kind of stress on yourself. The Assisted Living place can and will make you move him if he gets worse, Please dear lady, go look now.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 5:39PM
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Count me in with Agnespuffin & Linda. As hard as it may be to accept, it sounds like your dad needs to be in a skilled nursing facility. He may have reached the point where he can't really describe or comprehend what's happening to his body. He may actually be feeling something in his chest area but isn't able to adequately explain what it is. It could be a twinge, an itch, who knows? But with his present mental condition, all he can come up with is a heart attack. His mind has latched on to that one explanation. So no matter how many vitals are taken or how many times the caregivers assure him that he's OK, he doesn't believe it. He think he needs hospitalization.

Part of it probably is his attempt to manipulate the system, just as you suspect. But it sounds like he's beyond the point of being able to be reasoned with. You said he's had a history of depression, so that may be playing into the situation too.

I agree with Lynn that he needs to be seen by a competent doctor, to check his heart and to prescribe some sort of anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication. Unfortunately, I think you need to go to the appointment with him. He cannot explain his situation adequately or honestly. You need to explain to the doctor exactly what your dad's behaviors have been these last couple of months. Write down a list of talking points, and take it with you so you don't neglect to mention everything you're concerned about.

Get on a waiting list for a skilled nursing facility as soon as you can. Don't put it off because if your dad keeps creating problems, he may be given notice.

Is your dad in the assisted living section of the facility or in the dementia/memory care section? Or are the two sections combined? The reason I ask is because most memory care wings are equipped with staff who are trained to handle panic attacks, etc. So the staff doesn't call the family unless it's a real emergency.

However, your dad's place may have a policy about calling the family when the resident claims emergency medical treatment is needed, even though the staff has found no cause for alarm. It may be the facility's "cover our behind" policy to always call the family. I know that if a medication dosage is missed, someone from my mom's place calls me to let me know. I think these types of calls are attempts to head off any future litigation.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 6:37PM
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I may be incorrect, but I think that should the AL home manage to get him admitted to a hospital, they can refuse to take him back.

It could be that they are trying in a "nice" way to get you to move him without having to actually demand that you do it.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 7:35PM
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shambo, I think your right. I don't think dad can tell the difference with what's going on with his body.
When he was living at home alone he got to where he'd drive himself to the doctors office for the one thing or another but the next day when I'd see him he'd tell he didn't trust the nurse when she'd tell him he was fine. He also has problems with both doctors and nurses at frist he thinks they're ok and then he'll tell me that they turned on him and not treating him the same. Maybe they got tired of his complaint and always insisting something was wrong even when they fixed the problem but he didn't think it was fixed.
I did not mention that the day nurse called me Friday but I missed the call but she left a message. Telling me that she needed to talk to me about my dads condition. Needless to say I worried the rest of the weekend as to what she had to tell me but was sure if it was serious they'd keep trying to contact me or leave a message to call them ASAP.
I planned it out to call the nurse to fins out what she had to tell me and when I called I find out that Friday was her last day working there.
I talked to the new nurse and told her I'd like for my dad to be placed on something for his depression or anxiety. He's been on zoloft and said he didn't like it.
I went and checked on two homes today but they were rehab/memory care centers. One looked really nice but no room the second one didn't look near as nice and the area they hold dementia care persons is very small with only one short hallway.
I'll look into a nursing home that handles someone with problems like my dad.
Problem in Texas is that if the person becomes combative they can call me up and tell me I have two days to fine a new place for him. Now you know it's not that easy to find a place and it's not good move them around so much. I do not want to be caught without a place for dad to go, this would not be good at all.
It does not make since to me at all. It's not like your a normal person renting a home or apartment and making to much noise. It's a case of them being ill and the home should not take them in unless they truly handle all cases or stages of dementia.
I also found out that they can get a machine to hook up to the phone that links it to dads doctors for a check up on the pacemaker, Now why they don't know this or if it's a case of not wanting to do it. I haven't a clue but I will be asking them tomorrow about it.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 7:54PM
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Have you considered a 'group' home for Alz folks? They are out there - smaller than either nursing home or AL place ... and the folks there are trained to deall with Alz folks.

I really don't think your Dad is suited to the lowest level of care in AL if that is what he is getting now - I have visited 2 of them locally in the last 2 weeks looking for a place for my Dad who isn't as manipulative as yours is......and the ones I visited had three levels of care. If your Dad is in the lowest level of care maybe he needs to move up to the intermediate level of care. The nurses can't give him what the Dr. hasn't prescribed. I would be making an appt with the Dr. to get something to 'calm him down'.


    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 8:38PM
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My grandmother stayed up all night long one night saying her throat hurt and wouldn't let anyone sleep for pestering them about her throat...it ended up that she was having a heart attack, she wasn't able to verbalize that it was her heart...
I now have her in an Alzheimer/dementia only home, they are so wonderful and since that is really all they deal with they are experts. I had to search to find just the right home since there are many in central Texas that say they are Alzheimer facilities, however, many of them are licensed for such but also have regular non dementia residents as well.
Good luck, I know it's very hard....

    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 12:01PM
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The right Doctor can make all the difference in the world. My MIL was seeing a doc that actually made the comment to me (when discussing her growing forgetfullness and confusion) "What do you expect, she's 85." and then he proceeded to yell at her "Are you confused?" Then he spent at least 8 minutes treating me like I was trying to steal her SS check. He had her in tears and I was so shocked at his reaction I was nearly in tears. She told me later she was scared of him and she thought he was trying to take her away from me. We didn't go back. I made calls to everyone I could think of. I found a great doctor that just "KNEW" in the first 5 minutes what our concerns were. He looked and saw. It makes all the difference in the world. She loves him. Hang in there, there are some good medical personal out there. Good luck and lots of good thoughts to you.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 10:59AM
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