My mother is in what seems to be a very good NH following as serious stroke. She has pretty serious cognitive issues (mostly short term memory loss) but can still be totally "with it." She has previously told me about things that supposedly happened to her there (typically at night) which she described as "abuse." Once it was an aide who may have been a little too impatient with her, which I reported to the management (and which the NH responded to by suspending the aide for a week and making sure this particular aide was no longer assigned to my mom; they also filed a report with the state health department). Other times it was clear that what she was telling me simply could not have happened (like wild parties in her room in the middle of the night), which I did not report. This morning she called me extremely upset with a story that I find very hard to believe (that up to five aides made fun of her, took her face and pretended to have her kiss them -- either on the mouth or on their breasts, and did other "vulgar" things that she would not describe to me. She says it all started when she was trying to read their badges). Her retelling is not coherent but she clearly believes that this happened. I suspect it was either a dream or some sort of hallucination (she is on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds, and the dosage is higher at night). She also is perceptive enough to recognize that I do not fully believe what she is telling me, despite my best efforts to remain neutral when she tells me this stuff. So she gets very upset with me and says I am "taking their side." I am not sure how to respond to her. I am also not sure if I should mention any of this to the management. On the one hand, they will feel legally obligated to launch an investigation, report to the dept. of health, etc. and I don't want to put them through that for what seems to be a confabulation. On the other hand, I am terrified that my mother may be being mistreated in some way and I then ignore it. What would you do?
I hope you still aren't considering moving your mother in with you?
I am still struggling with whether to keep her in the NH but not really thinking of moving her in with us. I know that's not something I could handle, even with 24/7 help, and our house would require major work to make it safe for her. Her CCR informed me last week that they will not agree to have her move back into her independent living apartment, even with 24/7 care, so the only other option is to rent her an apartment somewhere near us. I know that would be very challenging, I know that it would not make her "happy," and I certainly see the pitfalls, but it is hard to come to terms with leaving her in a place where she is so desperately unhappy.
Thanks again for responding.
You should also see about installing a covert camera in her room (if there is anyone else in the room, it cannot film that other person at all. Don't toss out stories as bizarre until you do some observation on your own. Someone needs to stay with her for lengthy periods of time to see what's going on. Be there on bath days, at meal times, medicine times, etc and pay attention. Go in and out of the room so you can make some surprise entrances.
It's very possible there is a bad employee or even a wandering patient who is coming to your mom's room.
Another idea. You mention this is happening in the evening. Is it possible she could be experiencing Sundowner’s? My mom would get highly agitated and stressed in the evening. Her elder psychiatrist prescribed her an anti-psychotic that she takes just before bedtime. It works well for her.
Mom kept telling me that she "had to pay for everything here". I reminded her that Medicare was paying (I thought this was still my oh so rational mom, sigh).
Sitting with her in the afternoon, Burse Nancy came by and gave my mom several pills, individually, explaining what each was. When mom finished, she said to me, with Nurse Nancy still there, "You see, I have to manage my medications on my own." She gave me a "look" that meant "pay attention to what I'm saying".
I asked her as neutrally as I could what she meant. She pointed to her water pitcher and gave me "the look" again.
I followed Nurse Nancy out of the room. As we walked down the hall, I fumbled for words. She said "Barbara, we think your mom has developed Vascular dementia from the stroke. It's pretty common after stroke. We've asked our geriatric psychiatrist to stop by".
Mom was on a low one of antidepressants at this point. She eventually was prescribed two different antidepressants and a low dose of anti-anxiety meds. They kept her calm.
Talk to mom's psychiatrist about what's going on.
Never dismiss your mom's concerns, never try to explain to her that they can't be true, but make her feel "heard".
Talk to the folks who are treating her (docs and nurses) about whether this is a medical issue (meds/delusions) and report to administrators what she is saying.
In my previous answer, it might have seemed that we were dismissive of mom's reports. We were not. We investigated and reported to admins.
There is no way I could handle the hour by hour needs and listen to all the fears and concerns that mom has. She’s on meds for depression, anxiety and pain.
Good Luck with your mom and good luck to you. This is a long, strange trip. I couldn’t do it alone.
As far as your mother telling you these rather bizarre stories, they don't hold much merit and shouldn't be followed up on. Other scenarios that seem credible should be addressed. To be certain, install a camera IF permitted.
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