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.
6 responses to “Very Not Good”
I hear your frustration and anger and it is not unwarranted. Ridiculousness abounds at that care home. Remember you are doing everything you can and we thank you humbly. In every province there are Veteran nursing homes. Have you come across one in BC at all? The Perley Hospital in Ottawa that takes all vets, including those with Alzheimer’s. something like that would be better for him. Just wondering. Many hugs to you and Uncle Don.
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So upsetting, and exhausting, Delores. This is hugely draining for you – please know your ability to respond is hugely important both to Don, and to the greater system.
I received a huge bill for incontinence products after my Mum’s death in April, challenged it, and then found they’d ordered extra boxes – I’m guessing now prior to the new system…
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Sorry to bring up one more thing re the adult diapers, but when my mother was in hospital at St. Joe’s 6 years ago, the nurses were run ragged and there was no aid staff to change diapers. My mum got the rash from hell. Since her intake of food or drink at that point was much diminished she probably didn’t need frequent changes but . . . At home this never happened. When I got her changed and wiped I simply applied coconut oil from a large jar of a cheap brand. A little goes a long way and it was enough of a barrier that she was well protected.
The emotional and mental pain caused by wrangling over miserable details like adult diapers is enough to send anyone around the bend. And what about the physical and mental distress to the people in care? It adds up to a lot more than the $$ spent on diapers could ever account for.
I sometimes wish that the drone in charge of making such horrible decisions had to either wear such accoutrements for 24 hours, unchanged, themselves or….be in charge of an entire ward of adults needing help with incontinence.
My sympathy to you, Delores, and to dear Don too.
Love, Susan >
So sorry Dolores. One of the first thing Sue did when she started here was to stop allowing RC to charge for incontinence products. Plus the Tenna rep came in to train fair aides. Not that I expect it helped but who knows as we can’t get in to see our loved ones anyway😢 still no visits here. It’s beyond cruel and we will keep fighting. Have you been in contact with the jccf.ca in Alberta? They issued a demand letter to NSV with a notice that they intend to sue If they continue to not let essential visitors in.
I am so sorry you are going through this. Please just remember how much you have done to improve the situation at that facility, and all that you have done to mobilize a network of support on a national level! You are a hero! And Don is an angel.