Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Nursing Home 101

My grandmother has been transferred to the nursing home for what will hopefully only be a few days of rehab. I never was able to connect with her doctor, so all of my information has come through a Patient Care liaison at the hospital. Apparently her doctor makes his rounds at 6:30 a.m., and the word at the nurses' desk is that if you aren't at the hospital by 7:30 a.m., you will not see him. I could call his office and try to talk with him, but at this point I am holding that in reserve. The Patient Care nurse has told me what he said via dictation, so I am not sure he would tell me more if we spoke. The bottom line is that he told my grandmother he wanted her to go to the nursing home for a few days and get therapy and do lots of walking and build her strength to go home again. I also needed to bring my grandmother's walker from home.

So, this morning the Patient Care nurse called me at 8:30 to tell me that today was the day to transfer to the nursing home... did I want a van to transport my grandmother? I told her that I did, and she phoned back almost immediately to say the van would pick Mam-ma up at the hospital at 11:00 a.m. I was at the nursing home around 10:30 a.m. to start filling out what I knew would be a mountain of paperwork. The admissions officer was very helpful and professional, and she made everything go smoothly. I left her office with a list of things she needed that I had not remembered (or realized) to bring - a copy of Mam-ma's Living Will, copies of her Medicare and Medicaid cards, a copy of my Durable Power of Attorney agreement, and a copy of her Social Security card.

For some reason my grandmother's van didn't arrive at the nursing home until 12:15 p.m., so by that time, we had inspected the room, I had ordered extra blankets for her bed, unpacked the clothing that my mom and I labeled and packed the day before in anticipation of this, and I had spoken with someone in maintenance about connecting her room television to the cable so it would work. The van driver assisted my grandmother in getting out of the van and wheeled her into the lobby with a "there you go," before returning to get another patient from the van. Since it was the lunch hour and most of the staff was busy in the cafeteria, I wheeled my grandmother to her room. She immediately needed to visit the bathroom, and I no sooner got her settled in bed (with a nurse's help) than she said she was sick. And sick she was! Apparently the van ride was too much for her. So nurses appeared from several directions with water, wet cloths, warm broth, and hugs, and by 2:30 p.m., she was resting. She does have a nasty rash that the doctor thinks resulted from the contrast dye they gave her for a CT-scan. She is taking Claritin and Benadryl for that, and hopefully it will work soon, because she is really scratching, and her face is very red and splotchy.

I know things are looking up because Mam-ma had me phone her hairdresser and ask her to come to the nursing home tomorrow and fix her hair! I teased her about wanting to look nice and told her that one of the forms I had to sign was to attest that she was not physically agressive and that she would not be sexually agressive. Her comment was, "Well darn!" Then she chuckled and said, "Oh well, most of the men I visited with when I was in the nursing home in 2004 are now dead anyway!" Somehow, I think she is going to be just fine in a few more days!!!

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