This was one of the things we were least looking forward to. Our elder has “run off” one nurse already. Special preparations had to be made in order to make this a smooth visit. Thankfully, past experience allowed us to take steps to prepare our elder for the nurse.
Requiring a nurse visit is a reasonable step. Some memory care patients don’t do well in assisted living…they need skilled care. Here are some things that may help you if you find yourself in the same position.
Why? Our elder currently has a 1:1 ratio for caregiver/patient. In fact, sometimes she has two, if I happen to be down here at the time. In assisted living, it is five patients to one caregiver, though there are often others around for emergencies. With this ratio, it’s best if the patient can either be with the rest of the patients or can handle being alone some of the time. If constant care is needed, assisted living isn’t the right place.
Worries: The medications for our elder have been tweaked to allow her to avoid verbal aggression. However, there are things that can set her off in a hurry. The initial meeting between the nurse and our elder has to be handled just right and there’s not a lot I can do about it once the nurse is there. The nurse has to automatically adjust to the situation.
Buildup: This is important. I think it’s important for all dementia patients but it is definitely a must for our elder. She has to be prepared. She has to be told several times in conversational tones that the nurse is coming. Our elder will ask the same questions over and over, but that’s fine. This makes a big difference.
Meeting: I liked the nurse as soon as I saw her. She had the look of competence and compassion. She looked patient and understanding. When I spoke with her these impressions were valid. There have been nurses that rubbed me the wrong way and thoroughly ticked off our elder. I met her in the car park in case I had to give her some clues as to handling our elder, but none were needed.
Accepted: They talked easily for a good ten to fifteen minutes. It was more of a conversation than a checkup, though all of the medical questions were asked and answered. When it was time for me to go over the information with the nurse, our elder was quite satisfied that all was well.
This meeting was critical in getting our elder accepted to the assisted living place as well as accepting the fact that she’s going. It will be just as critical for others going through the same thing. These steps may seem unneeded. Believe me, they are needed. One bad meeting could spoil the entire move.