Another Valuable Dementia Lesson Learnt



A few months back many of you would remember a post that I wrote regarding our family reaching a pivotal turning point in Bob’s dementia journey. I made the comment that we needed to shift our care from one of fighting for Dad’s well-being and quality of life to one of simply providing comfort and care with a palliative mindset. I felt we had ‘lost him’ completely. Well I am pleased to say that I was wrong on that occasion…..

Just to recap – several months back Bob had erratic behaviour issues and was becoming increasingly violent and unpredictable. He had a very sore toe with the toenail lifting and was suffering with severe pain with it. I called the doctor and he prescribed a Norspan patch for his shoulder which can be an effective pain drug absorbed through the skin. Unfortunately Bob is extremely sensitive to medication changes and his behaviours became ‘outta control’ and he was doing unacceptable things and I felt that his brain was so damaged that he would not recover and become palliative.

He was transferred to the RAH and spent 5 weeks in a medical ward as there was no beds in the geriatric ward. He manically walked the ward all day and night with a nurse and/or family member in tow. We had another 12-15 code blacks during those 5 weeks and he was eventually transferred to the Repat Hospital – Ward 18. The environment was quiet, with only 8 patients and each person has an experienced nurse monitoring them across every 15 minutes. Decisions are then made to either return the person to their nursing home, ( or residence) or be transferred to a mental health facility.

Yesterday we found out that whilst Bob has declined significantly he has been given the green light to be transferred back to his nursing home on MONDAY to a brand new room and ward . He will be warmly welcomed back by the residents and staff. We are far from being out of the woods and have to hope his behaviours continue to subside. His warm smile is back.. he laughs often…and I am hoping we can keep him out of the hospitals from now on. fingers crossed……

The Lessons?….. any future changes to medications need to be done gradually and with extreme attention placed on looking for any side effects over several weeks. The big lesson I learnt however was that there is always hope for a better quality of life if you NEVER EVER GIVE UP and keep searching for answers and give it EVERYTHING YOU HAVE.

“C’mon Dad……Let’s do this!!!!”

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