Medical Care - Can't believe it

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by TeacherShelly, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Nov 11, 2009

    My FIL has Alzheimer's disease and has been living in an assisted living home for 5 years. The home has an enormous buy-in fee ($120k) plus a monthly fee, but the payoff is that no matter how ill you get, you live there and get care. There are four levels: independent, assisted, skilled-nursing, and hospice.

    Over the past several months, his health declined. They moved him to assisted living. He was very suspicious and felt cheated (he didn't understand that the smaller apartment on a lower floor with less of a view was in exchange for more care - he thought he was just being ripped off). He became angry and combative. He started to be aggressive and hit a nurse with his cane. The people at the home asked that he be put on an anti-psychotic drug to mellow him out. The MD prescribed it, he took it, and became very droopy and too weak to hit anyone.

    Then he wandered off the grounds and somehow alarmed a neighbor who called 911 (remember he was droopy and loopy). He went to Kaiser where they increased his dose of the anti-psychotic because he was so angry and aggressive and confused. Then he breathed in some of his food and the food particle became infected in his lungs. The MDs told us this "aspiration" of food was a sign of final stage Alzheimer's. They told us we would be within his children's rights to increase the meds leaving him comatose and stop feeding him. This would be considered an affect of the Alzheimer's!

    A google search revealed that the anti-psych drug he was on is NOT recommended for dementia patients and that food aspiration is a side-effect of the drug. The kids asked to take him off the meds and see if his eating problem improved. Guess what? He's now just like he was before the drug - combative, angry, suspicious, awake, with no eating issue. So he can go back to his assisted living (probably move up to skilled so they can keep a better eye on him).

    ETA: forgot to mention, the home says if he hits anyone again, they will call the police, who will take him to the hospital, where they will give him the anti-psychotic drug! And then, he'll be kicked out of the home. No refund.

    Isn't that strange that the MDs didn't mention the drug side affect? This may be neither here-nor-there, but about 12 Thanksgivings ago, we were at FILs bedside at Kaiser for intestinal bleeding. The MDs advised removing part of his intestine leaving him with a colostomy bag for the rest of his life. The kids chose to keep looking for alternatives until one of my BILs (an MD himself) realized FIL was taking a drug that was NOT advised for people with bleeding in the GI tract. The new drug was causing hemorrhaging in his intestine. They took him off the meds and he healed right away. They never admitted it was the drug, though.

    Any words welcome. Thanks.
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Nov 11, 2009

    So sorry, Shelly. Good your FIL has family members who are astute advocates for his care.

    Has the family sought any legal advice?
     
  4. AMK

    AMK Aficionado

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    Nov 11, 2009

    A friend of the family had alzehemiers. He decked the EMT guy who was called to the home. He really had no idea what he did. They called the police and handcuffed him. I was so sad hearing this. He wasn't allowed home and put in a facility.

    I have no words for advice. When my mom was ill we had to be her adovcate. Any social workers who you can talk to?
     
  5. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    I just heard from my husband. He said FIL really surprised the doctors by coming to immediately after being taken off the meds. He said they had a minister there ready to perform last rites! Seriously. :eek:hmy:

    Alzheimer's is a confounding disease. FIL is an adult and should be responsible for his actions. Workers should not be hurt by their patients. But FIL is not in control of his actions and there doesn't seem to be a reasonable way to restrain him. Drugs that kill him are not the answer. But his home is not allowed to use physical restraints. He is MISERABLE to be around and the other people living there deserve peace. It is not his fault.

    AMK, that is a sad, sad story. There are social workers at Kaiser and at the home. There is another home that claims they can care for him, that they are experienced with violent, suspicious, angry, incontinent, clumsy, dementia patients. Thankfully, FIL saved a lot of money during his lifetime because at $10K per month, this new facility would not be possible without it.

    Cza, when you mentioned legal advice, do you mean about the mishandling of the medications?
     
  6. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    Nov 11, 2009

    I just wanted to offer my prayers. This is a terrible position to be in and worse yet for your FIL.
    I hope things work out best for him. :hugs:
     
  7. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Nov 11, 2009

    My friend is a pharmacist in a hospital and has told me that if I am ever in the hospital and a doctor is doing rounds and recommending medication that I should ask if a pharmacist is present b/c some doctors don't know what drugs shouldn't be mixed with other drugs and the side effects of some of the drugs.

    I hope that everything works out with your FIL.
     
  8. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Nov 11, 2009

    I am sorry for your troubles. I just wanted to say I have absolutely no confidence in Kaiser after experiences we had with my mother and I would rather be treated by a vet! No matter how high our other insurance goes, I will not go back to them.
     
  9. Blue

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    I have had the same experience with my mother who has severe dementia. One of the meds made her angry and combative. But, without the meds she wandered and did not sleep. The drug of choice is the one not recommended for Dementia. What worked for her was an adjustment of the meds. The doctor just had to find the right dosage for her. She lives in a foster care facility, and it is expensive. They have a doctor on call, so they were able to contact her immediately when the meds did not work.
     
  10. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Nov 11, 2009

    They should have known that anti-psychotics are not to be prescribed to elderly patients with dementia. I know this -- how could they not know this?????? How frustrating.

    During my Psych MA I worked with adults with dementia from Alzh. and heart disease, These people are NOT psychotic. They become confused and sometimes act out. I would think that the home where he lives would have experience with this and have some kind of procedure in place aside from calling the police!

    You must be outraged.
     
  11. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    Nov 12, 2009

    I'm a bit confused here; who or what is Kaiser? :confused:
     
  12. fast chalk

    fast chalk Comrade

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    Nov 12, 2009

    I´m sorry. I´m praying for your FIL, I do understand it is really difficult to deal with this illness,
    A big hug
     
  13. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    Nov 12, 2009

    I'm very sorry for your family. The treatment of the elderly in this country sometimes disturbs me. That said, I've seen places that were far better. My grandmother lived for six years in a nursing unit, and was able to meet the first of her great-grandchildren several times as a result.
     
  14. Dzenna

    Dzenna Groupie

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    Nov 12, 2009

    Kaiser is a large HMO in California.

    Shelly- My DH's father lived to 93. We had to fight and be advocates for his health care in the last few years. MIL is 91 and we are having to do the same now. It angers me how the elderly are treated in regards to medical issues. Both of my in-laws used PPO doctors. Think about those who don't have family watching out for them. Your FIL is lucky to have a caring family. Bless you!
     
  15. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    Nov 12, 2009

    I know it's cynical but medicine these days isn't about a cure. There isn't any money in a cure. However, there are billions of dollars in treatment.
     
  16. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Shelly, hugs to you and your family. It is a scary world the elderly sick live in. It sounds like your husband and siblings know what they need to do. But, why is the family supposed to know more than the doctors? It's crazy.

    When my mother was hospitalized, we realized that she wasn't safe in the hospital without one of us there. They left her on the commode for an hour, didn't come when called, she fell ... it was awful. Then the rehab center was not much better. Now she is in independent living where they don't offer much medically, but it is appropriate for her living arrangements.
     
  17. Dzenna

    Dzenna Groupie

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    Nov 13, 2009

    This makes me so mad. :mad:

    My dad was in the hospital this time last year and had to go to a rehab center because he was unconscious for a long time and had no strength. We put him in the center with the best reputation. He almost died there. His BP dropped dangerously due to a mismanagement of drugs. He was rushed to the ER where he was resuscitated. The ER doctor (who is now his treating doctor) was furious. He told us to do everything possible to take him home and have nurses and physical therapy come there due to the poor care given in rehab centers. Dad healed quickly at home.
     
  18. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Nov 13, 2009

    It is a shame, everyone has a horror story about their elderly loved one. It is really upsetting. One of the parents in my room gave me the name of the Alzheimer's Association and I just emailed them for suggestions. FIL is being released tomorrow back to the home. It seems inevitable that he'll be aggressive again.
     
  19. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Nov 15, 2009

    yeah, that concerns me.

    I'm somewhat concerned about what happens when you/family members aren't around your FIL to check on his care...
     

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