When Both Parents

My parents are in their late 80s and live in Southern California.  I’m a retired geriatric physician living in Northern California.  My six siblings also live out of the area.  We take turns visiting Mom and Dad to ensure their well-being and provide moral support for the many challenges and health concerns they face.

My Mom’s medical history includes mild strokes, some memory loss, and severe arthritis. My father suffers from significant cardiac problems, and he is mom’s primary caregiver when one of us “kids” isn’t visiting. 

My dad contacted a Keen Life Care Manager approximately a year ago during one of my visits.  She met with my parents and me, and we had a great discussion about planning for the aging process.  Based on her recommendations, my dad had a stairlift installed and hired a speech therapist to work with Mom at home.  Both strategies have proven extremely valuable during the past year, promoting safety for both and improved communication ability for my mom.

Recently, my mom was hospitalized for 14 days due to sepsis from a urinary tract infection.  The hospital contacted my father and reported that my mom was ready for discharge.  My dad had been planning for my mom to transition to a skilled nursing facility for rehabilitation prior to going home. He called me in tears, stating that Mom was begging him to come home.  While I believed Mom would recover better at home in her own surroundings and with her own routine, I worried about my dad wearing himself down by caring for her.  Unfortunately, I had to return home prior to my mom’s discharge.

Dad and I contacted the Keen LCM we had met with a year ago.  She remembered my parents and said she would be happy to help.  My dad gave her authority to speak with the hospital staff.  Within an hour, she had collaborated with the hospital discharge planner and arranged for private ambulance transport home, set up 24-hour care, and arrived at my parents’ home with supplies, a wheelchair, and a commode chair. 

The LCM stated that the major concerns I had regarding my mom’s ongoing care could be dealt with at home.  The source of Mom’s infection still wasn’t clear, and, because she had been in bed for 14 days, she was unable to sit up or walk due to weakness and arthritis.  The LCM quickly suggested a plan of care to address my mom’s issues, as well as my concerns about my dad.

Keen Life Care Manager’s Plan of Care for Mom

  • Skilled home health RN for ongoing antibiotic injections
  • 24-hour care for at least two weeks, then re-evaluate to reduce care
  • Bed-baths until Mom was safe to be showered in the bathroom with a tub transfer bench
  • Temporary use of diapers to manage incontinence
  • Wheelchair for sitting up and building endurance until walking resumes
  • Moisture barrier cream for buttocks rash
  • Begin gradual sitting program at bedside to build endurance
  • Begin aggressive physical and occupational therapy program in five days, after antibiotics are complete and cognition improves
  • Oversight for medication reminders
  • Education for caregivers to assist Mom with daily exercises, transfers, and walking program established by the PT
  • Schedule follow-up appointments with primary care physician to ensure infection is cleared
  • Keep family members informed

Keen Life Care Manager’s Plan of Care for Dad

  • A big hug! And provide moral support for his anxiety and grieving over his fear of losing my mom
  • The big talk: “We must take care of the Captain of the ship!” In other words, don’t overdo it.
  • Ensure Dad is eating and sleeping well, taking his medications, and going to his physician appointments

I’m thrilled to report that I visited my parents last week, and they are doing extremely well.  Mom has returned to her prior level of functioning, and Dad is all smiles.  I couldn’t have asked for a more loving and qualified home care team to support my parents on their journey.  Thank you, Keen!
– Debbie L.

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