Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How does this happen?

Still reeling from this:

Most personal care homes don't have the staff to send someone along with a resident when the resident needs to go to the hospital. (Which I totally don't understand. When you send a dementia patient to the hospital, how are they supposed to answer questions about how they were hurt? Or where they hurt? Or when their birth date is? Or what types of medications they take? The answer: they CAN'T!) So, hospital staff is left trying to figure out things with the limited information they receive from the EMTs who transport the resident.

Families, then, are totally dependent on the home's staff to notify them a) that a resident has been hurt, and 2) that they have gone to the hospital ER.

Perhaps some families don't care. Perhaps they let their loved ones go through these ordeals alone. I don't know. But I do know that my sister and I DO care, and the thought of my father being alone in a strange, bewildering place that is noisy, and crowded, with people who don't know him, possibly don't even know that he has dementia, is unconscionable. Just the thought of it is enough to bring me to tears.

Yet, it happened.

Yesterday, around 4:30 p.m., my father evidently fell in the Memory Care unit. Because he hit his head and was bleeding a bit, they had to send him to the ER to be checked out.

Guess what time they called to inform us that Dad was in the ER?

Answer: they didn't.

Let me repeat that.

No one called.

Around 10 p.m., one of the night staff called my sister to ask how Dad was doing since he wasn't back from the hospital yet. And that's how we discovered Dad was in the ER.

When my sister frantically called the ER, she found out that Dad was being discharged and would soon be transported back to the home.

For six hours, my father was alone in the ER, with no one to comfort him, or keep him from being unduly afraid, or to explain to him what was going on. No one.

Fortunately, my father seems to be okay. But what if something had happened in that ER? What if it had been much more serious, and my sister and I were unable to be at his side because no one friggin' called to say, "Oh, by the way, your Dad fell and is in the hospital."

I can't even begin to tell you how upsetting this is. When we visited Dad today, all we could think about was what if something had happened to him and at least one of us hadn't been there.

I feel like I've had all the air sucked out of my body. This is so wrong.


  1. I work in a hospital and see patients daily brought in alone from nursing facilities...most have large envelopes full of their information...but that in no way replaces a person...who when they are there have no information...but at least they are a body until family can arrive...if they are's heartbreaking...

    In August my 90 year old mother...with dementia...fell and broke her hip...we were with her at the facility every morning and evening...(intense therapy in between) you think anyone could tell us she had an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon? we found out the next day when she told me how far and lonely her ride in the back of a van was...first I thought she was imagining it...

    I am so glad your father is okay...

    1. Thank you so much, Kelley. Love to you and your family.

  2. That is terrible. Did they have any reason for not contacting you? Not that there is a good reason for that. That is one of my worst nightmares.


Thank you for sharing this journey with us.