This will be a very upsetting post for those family who have not been immersed in the nitty gritty of care for Don… which is to be honest pretty well 90% of them. Highly recommended you do not read this (as if you ever do!!!) because it is super upsetting.
So to the story.
I get to see Don for the third time – this would be the third 30 minutes – since March 10th. The other times he has been happy, sometimes estactic, to see me.
This time he is not troubled exactly, but …. not present either. Sort of stunned and absent. This is not too unusual, it is hit or miss to find him focussed or happy. Hard to hit in 30 minutes out of a week!
When he is brought into the visit room, the aide pulls up his pants. As things progress and we walk around, he hoists them up, over and over. They are way too big for him, the elastic shot, and i think nothing of it at first. He is happy to have my help hoisting and tucking.
But after about 10 minutes, i realise the weird bulge hanging down (uselessly) around his leg is his diaper, politely called an incontinence product.
No matter how i hoist and tuck, as he tolerated it and even said thank you a few times, it keeps falling down. He is distracted and miserable and i am feeling useless because i don’t know the exact way these things should be put on. I do know that would require starting over, pulling the over pants with those damn hip protectors down, and i also know he is in no mood for that. It would ruin the remaining 20 minutes of our time together for the next 10,000 minutes until our next visit.
He does ask, once more, “What are we doing here?” and i have to answer “oh baby i don’t know.”
So although we both tried to get into better avenues, this visit, the third very precious 30 minutes in 3 months, is …. uneasy.
When the aide comes to take him away, he is still distracted but trying to follow me.
I decide to complain.
Again. I am so very tired of having to do this.
After 20 minutes a lovely nurse who i really like comes out to talk.
This, dear readers, is where it gets really complicated.
Families at this Retirement Concepts facility have been paying privately for incontinence products. Thousands of dollars a month on top of the care home fees.
At the last family council, it was announced that (under the public administrator) this would stop and the company would provide the required high quality products, as happens at ALL the other care homes in the valley. I checked. We are talking up to $200 a month per resident, so… the math is interesting. Peanuts compared to the $5 an hour skimmed off staff wages but still, I guess every penny counts.
Anyway this beautiful RN starts talking and says, well Don is covered under Vets so why not let Vets pay for a better product instead of the facility?
Uuuuh … Why? The facility is supposed to do this, and it all comes out of taxpayers anyway (the facilities are paid by us the bc taxpayers to provide these necessary products).
It went on… Because Don was mobile the products didn’t work, he loosened them up. Translation: it is his fault! if he was immobilised this wouldn’t be a problem.
Dear heaven! Just don’t push my buttons. Fought that battle 2 years ago when they wanted to strap him into a wheelchair.
I mentioned that i had seen him with drooping diapers before Covid and before facility products, when Vets was paying for the “best” product, so the issue was actually as simple as training care aides how to put on a diaper.
Come to think, i can’t remember how often i would come to visit pre-Covid and while Vets was paying for the so-called high end product, and he was in that same miserable state. When it was pointed out, the care aides would take him away and fix the issue and he would emerge sparky and ready to dance!
That was only when i happened to be there, once a day. What happens now?
The beautiful RN said because Don was mobile and kept patting at his hip protectors, it loosened the diaper. I said Yes, but the sticky tab was not pulled off so of course it couldn’t stay on!
“Care aides need training in how to put on a diaper,” i said, hating how it was necessary to get down like that.
It sounds like not rocket science but apparently it is.
And then we got into 2 versus 3 litre holding diapers and if don got a rash from the inferior product and me pointing out that no one needs a 3 litre holding diaper – they need changing! and we went round and round and round until i was exhausted and bored.
But they still want Vets to pay for a product the Tena rep told our family council was unnecessary and which might avoid having to do a night time change.
Which reminds me my sisters in Crying Out Loud did say they were told you the family rep had to Request a nighttime change.
Some care home.
Babe, I promise you we are gonna get out of there one way or another. I am so so sorry.