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Woried about Dad - Carers UK Forum

Woried about Dad

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Has anyone had experience of an elderly relative become confused temporarily because of a long stay in hospital?

My dad is in a rhab hospital and has been there two weeks. Mum and I went to see him last night, and part of the time he was talking sense and then he would suddenly say, I don't know where I'm supposed to sleep tonight, with his usual bed right next to him. I asked if he had managed to have some physio and attempted stairs, which is what he is there for, and will allow him to see if he can come home. He said no, so I went to ask the nursing staff, only to be told that the day before, the physio had tried to get him to do the stairs there, he had become very agitated and refused. He doesn't remember any of it, and I haven't asked him. I said to the staff I was worried , because he hadn't been confused before at which they seemed surprised and made a note of the fact to discuss with the doctor today. He keeps saying he wants to try the stairs too. I was asked again if we could bring his bed downstairs, and the physio had said to the nurse, she wasn't sure if he would ever be able to do stairs. I wonder when they were going to tell me that? We always seem to have to ask what's going on, although they are very kind, and he is very clean and well looked after.

I'm so very worried that he might be getting dementia too, as my mum has it. They live with us and I won't be able to cope with them both, although I'm jumping ahead a bit. I have a carers assment for my mum to look after my dad tomorrow, so I'll talk to the social worker then, and need to speak to the hospital tonight. I feel like I'm worrying more as the days go by. At least my husband said he would come and talk to dad's dr. at the hospital with me, I'm finding it hard to deal with all this on my own.
WhenI was nursing I found a lot of people whio had been in hospital a long time got confused, its out of their usual surroundings and they get upset which can lead to confusion. A friend of mine a dear old lady aged 85 had a spell in hospital and got really confused but normally she was so level headed with all her marbles at home, she had an infection which caused a temperature and confusion, soon as she came home she was back to her normal self.

I hope this is whats happening to your Dad
Could it be that he is dehydrated - I know this happened to my dad when he was in hospital - he didn't actually start getting better until we got him the hell out of there. My dad was peg fed and his urine was black because they were not putting water through his peg. Mind you they weren't putting food through his peg either!! Shower of lazy besoms most of the nurses. Too much like hard work for them I suppose.

Since my dad died in June 4 of his friends have died and eveyrone of their relatives were told the same as us. "He is not a candidate for intensive care". Thats 5 men in their mid 70's. I wonder if this is a blanket policy in that hospital and if it is age related or not?

I hope your dad gets better soon.

Eun
Thank you both for your replies. We had a call last night before visiting to say that Dad was agitated about his walker and not wanting his dinner, but by the time we got there he was calm and talked quite rationally which was a relief. I did give him quite a firm (but kind) talking to and he was listening at least! I think you are right Nilla, he is sick if being there and desperately wants to get home. I did tell him that being difficult wasn't going to do it!

They are going to check his renal function today Eun, so could be that there is an element of dehydration, as this has to be carefully monitored. I don't think he is drinking as much as he does at home, probably worried about getting up to go for a wee in the night. We are lucky in that the nursing staff there are just brilliant, unlike his previous hospital. He was waiting for an operation on hs neck some years ago which was causing his arms to become weak and his leg to drag, and I am sure that he was postponed because he is old, had it been done months sooner or even weeks he wouldn't be in the state he is now I don't think. I wrote a strong letter to that effect and miraculously the operation happened. Makes me furious.

Really hoping to get him home this week, he just has to try using stairs to se if he can or can't do it. If the physio is in today hopefully he'll get another chance.
Still experiencing problems with Dad's sporadic forgetfullness, and he is still in hospital. It was his birthday on Tuesday and when we went in he was quite cheerful, had had visitors, breakfast in bed as a treat! and a bath, well, it was his birthday! But yesterday was a different matter, he was very agitated over the fact that his bed was untidy, and while he calmed down when I 'made' it for him, we were hard pushed to get a word of sense out of him. From what I gather, the occupational therapist did some of the dementia tests on his yesterday, but i don't know what the results were.

He is also incontinent now, and has to be told how to use the toilet. We have a case conference being set up hopefully for next week. I know that they involve the professionals and us, do they just tell us what they think and then we all make a decision as to what is to be done? I'm getting so that I dread going to see him as we don't know what he will be like, we are relived when he is talking properly and we see the old dad there, but other times he's this cross, bewildered agitated person who thinks we are all 'conspiring' against him. Image
Have they checked that he doesn't have a urine infection? I have seen many old people who get completely confused or forgetful because they are not getting enough fluids.
Try and encourage him to drink something while you're around. Old people can very quickly get dehydrated.

My own Mum is a devil for not drinking enough. As soon as she gets grouchy or says she feels tired I make us a drink (or sometimes insist she has some water) and she perks up very quickly.

They leave jugs of water on the bedside lockers but fail to remind people to actually drink it! Image
Thanks Audrey and Penny, we have now been told his forgetfulness -( the actual word they used was dementia, which upset my mum) is due to renal problems, he was ok with us again yesterday, it's a real roller coaster at visiting times! He's a bit worried to drink too much in case he has to get up in the night, but it could well be made worse by his not drinking enough. Another patient was moved in too, so that unsettled him. Having a break from visiting today, which is a bit of a relief, he hasn't a lot to say as nothing much happens there. Not doing him any good, so roll on the case conference and then we can decide on a plan of action.
Probably the best thing you could do for him is get him out of there - it was the only thing that helped my dad 4 years ago. They just don't get looked after in hospital - the nurses in the majority are too lazy to do any nursing they would rather pretend to be almost-doctors. They won't help people who need help to eat or drink so its no wonder people dehydrate and suffer from malnutrition.

Eun
Thank you both, I am trying to get him out as soon as possible and making arrangements. The hospital is good and the staff are all very nice and helpful, but he shouldn't be there any longer. Keep leaving messages for social worker, which is frustrating, but of course he is not her only case!
Make sure your Dad has a Care Plan BEFORE he leaves hospital so that it is all down in black and white.