Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tuesdays with Elders - Ten Day Bed Hold

With Ma and Dad in the nursing home, I could breathe a sigh of relief. They were well taken care of, fed, and most importantly, safe. The solace was short-lived.

If an illness (pneumonia), a fall that breaks a bone, or a behavior problem that the facility is not equipped to handle, your Elder will be sent to a hospital that can. In Massachusetts, the nursing facility is required to hold the bed for the Elder's return for 10 consecutive days. After the 10 day bed hold, the family can opt to pay the nursing home a per diem bed rate to hold the bed if the nursing home will take the Elder back.

In my family's case, a behavior issue was blown out of proportion and the nursing home sent Ma to a geriatric psych hospital. The nursing home refused to take Ma back. With the help of the social worker at the hospital, I found myself in the middle of a blizzard touring a nursing home that would not only take Ma, but would take Dad. It was important for me to have the two of them together. I didn't have a huge selection of choices this time around and certainly not as well-appointed.

One of the facilities suggested was a transitional care facility Ma had been in for a wound that would not heal. I refused to have Ma sent there. While Ma was there, she had been labeled as at risk for fall. She was supposed to ring for a nurse or aid if she wanted to get out of bed or out of the wheelchair. A magnetic safety alarm was attached to her clothing and then to the bed or wheelchair. If she tried to get up, the alarm would go off. I went to visit one day and heard the alarm blaring. It seemed to me the alarm had been ringing for some time. Ma's roommate was lying down, she got up, came around to Ma and showed me how to turn off the alarm. Peer care? I don't think so.

If your Elder is in a transitional care facility after a fall or illness, pay attention. Most transitional care facilities are also long term nursing homes.