Could you relate at all to my last post on the horrific eldercare hospital crisis? I’m certain more than one of you could.
Can you stomach another medical example? They’re truly rich and ripe for the picking.
Then, allow me to recount this story about how a carefully-orchestrated procedure unravelled. Remember, we’re still in the series about not deluding yourself that your trials have ended once aging folks are located in a facility of some sort.
Here’s What Happened
One of the adult children caregivers received a last-minute call from the retirement residence about 30 minutes before they were due to pick up Mom. It sparked a huge crisis.
You see, she was due for cataract surgery later that morning and had just consumed breakfast – a no-no. They tried multiple times to reach her the day before but claimed she was never in her room. So, that night they asked the nurse to remind their resident not to eat pre-surgery.
It took six months to obtain this appointment. Things yet hang in the balance. My colleague doubts her mother-in-law will want to live if she has to face six additional months of almost-total blindness.
Who Was Responsible For What?
When everyone processed how this mix-up could have occurred, the nursing staff vocally asserted they woke up Mom and told her not to eat at 9:30 p.m. the night before.
Can you guess what mother claimed? That’s right! She indicates they never told her. You may want to further understand that a fall getting out of a chair about a month before shook her up at 90-plus years of age. She’d barely “recovered” from that trauma and now had to summon herself to get the eye done.
Mom is upset. She feels she “blew it”. The “kids” are snarky over the intense annoyance of having to reschedule the surgery! I know because I’ve supported people in their seventies through cataract procedures. You have to wait endlessly to get in! It may be considered a “standard” process when you’re younger, but not so much when older.
From what I can discern, there’s likely accountability on both sides.
I agree the nurses could have been more diligent in communicating the message at 7:00 p.m. when my friends originally asked. Waiting until 9:30 p.m. was late and chancy. On the other hand, they may have been busy with other residents.
Her children could have persisted with more phone calls until they reached mother directly or insisted to bring her to the phone. Personally, I empathize with the caregivers wanting to wash their hands of everything! Their daily task list is overwhelming; this is just one more thing.
In my view, it’s a perfect example of miscommunication – the left hand not knowing what the right is doing – plus possibly unclear role boundaries between staff and paying customer.
How About Some Help to Cope?
Bottom-line, I wouldn’t want you to assume the residence took any responsibility. Whom do you think was charged with begging Mom’s doctor to take her in sooner than half a year? Hint: Your answer had better be my friends.
Should anyone be reading from the facility’s perspective, I’d understand you silently thinking it “should” be Mom’s children who make those altered arrangements. As a Baby Boomer Advocate, I retort that total abdication does NOT help your beleaguered client!
To support you, the Burdened Caregiver, please immediately download my Eldercare Rescue Guide at www.copingwithuncopeableparents.com.