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I think I'm losing my mum - advice please. - Carers UK Forum

I think I'm losing my mum - advice please.

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Hello all.

Mum (74) has been in hospital for 4 weeks now, and I think her mental health is almost as bad as when she was admitted. she was originally admitted when she was delirious and hallucinating. Over the past 4 weeks, I have been told that she had a Urinary tract Infection, multi-infarct dementia and liver problems.

Docs are now saying that she doesn't have dementia (although she has small vessel disease). She has been given memory tests and scored 28.5 out of 30. Her liver and infection have been cured, and doctors have told her she is getting out of hospital on Tuesday.

The problem is that her mental state is dreadful tonight. The hospital keep moving her from room to room, and she is incredibly anxious each time it happens. She has been very quiet all day, but accused one of her visitors tonight of laughing at her. She is incredibly agitated. I want to bring her home from the hospital as soon as possible, as she doesn't seem to be benefitting from being there any more, but I'm really worried that she seems like a completely different person now. I find it hard to believe that she will be able to have a social life any more, because she is incredibly paranoid around people. It hurts so much to see her like this, and I'm always very near to tears. the consultant in charge of her treatment told me a few weeks ago that he felt that she might benefit from a small dose of anti-psychotic/anti-depressant but I spoke to a doctor yesterday who told me that she didn't think this was necessary.

I really don't know what to do anymore. I feel exhausted and anguished and I'm due to start working from home on Monday. I don't want mum to be in hospital for much longer (and I've been told that community psychiatric nurses will attend to her at home), but how will I cope if she is still paranoid and offensive to people? She is normally so loving and kind, and has many friends who love her. If she was well, she would be mortified at the though that she was hurting them. What should I do??
This moving elderly people is an absolute disgrace, they tried it with my husband in 2005 on the evening before he was to have surgery and when a belated a blood transfusion which should have been started hours before had just begun, the blood was ready no-one got round to setting the drip etc. up, he was already stressed out and to be told that he was to moved just added to his distress. Luckily I had stayed late having decided not to leave until the transfusion had been set up and I simply told the nurses to tell the bed manager that I would be going to the press if they moved my husband, he stayed on the ward until discharge. To move around someone who is already confused is outrageous, I would make it clear that you find it unacceptable and will be taking it further if it happens again.

You do not say whether your mother's UTI is now treated, personally I would not like my husband to be put on anti-psychotics other than as a last resort, the side-effects, particularly in the elderly, can be a problem and atypical anti-psychotics used in people with dementia have proved particularly problematic, they are not in fact licensed for this use. I think that until the matter of the UTI is resolved and your mother is back and settled in her home environment it is difficult to advise you, you may see a radical change in her and she may return to being pretty much her former self.

In your position I think that I would be working towards getting services in place and your mother home. It might be better if you can manage without outside help to delay any home intervention for few days so that your mother just has you and no strangers coming in to avoid further fueling her paranoia and enable her to re-adjust to her home environment, four weeks is a long time away from home and returning can be a bit traumatic for some elderly people even without the additional problems of confusion and paranoia. This would also enable you to assess any problems which you might have caring for your mother which have not been identified and addressed.

Again do not panic, although it is very difficult when the person you knew and loved suddenly changes you will surprised at how well you will cope, some of us have experienced this in a variety of circumstances and we are still going strong and managing the situation. Apropos work could you ask your employer for some paid compassionate leave while you are settling you mother back in or could you use some of your holiday entitlement? I think that this may pay dividends at a later date, managing a work load and your change in circumstances sounds a bit much to cope with at the moment, a few days to just concentrate on your mother will reduce your own stress levels and make her homecoming easier for both of you.
Hello Jim,

my wife had mini strokes (TIA's) in 2007. This left her with infarcts causing Vascular Dementia.
It affected her speech making her sound like a child like foreigner. This gradually got better over the next few months. The brain is an amazing bit of kit and repairs itself in time, finding new ways around the dead nerve endings.
It has taken two years for her to fully recover from the strokes, but the transformation is quite incredible. I'm sure she would have recovered much quicker, if she hadn't had gall bladder comlications during that time. This has only just been resolved!

When it all happened I was devastated. My lovely wife just seemed to have become another person. I was living with a stranger. The awful mood swings and potty conversations......I was at my wits end. I never dreamt that one day I would have to give up my business and the trade I loved to become her Carer. Somehow I got through it, with the help of an amazing little book called "The Selfish Pigs Guide to Caring" by Hugh Marriott and the wonderful help that I found amongest the incredible people on this forum!!!

I still have to look after her 24/7, but its so much easier nowadays.
I really think your Mum will settle better when she gets back home. Being in her own surroundings might help her to recover. We're all here for you, so just yell for help and someone will be with you in no time.

All the best Jim,

It is dreadful when staff move patients around. They did it to my Dad last year. He had been discharged at 12noon, but the ambulance had not turned up by 9pm to pick him up, and they said they would get there about midnight, at which point my sister phoned the ward and pointed out that to keep an 80 year old frail man waiting for that length of time was inhuman, and she wanted him to be kept in for the night. They did, but at 2am, (when he was asleep,)they moved him, and when he woke up, he was completely disorientated, got out of bed, and promptly fell. He ended up having a longer stay in hospital then, and when discharged the Matron from the Home came and picked him up in the minibus.(he couldn't get into our car at that time, otherwise he would have been home on the original day.)

Good luck with your Mum and the hospital.Thye are scary enough places at the best of times.

Even stable elderly folks can develop these problems when hospitalized; so personally I would take a deep breath and see how she gets on once she is home for a little while.

If her condition does not improve, I think you have to keep pushing to get an answer about why your mother has developed psychological problems. There has to be a reason.
Hello again

Thanks for the advice, and sorry if my message sounded a little hysterical, it's just been incredibly difficult over the past few weeks.

I'm definitely going to bring mum home on Tuesday. Her UTI has disappeared and I'm worried that she could pick up another bug in hospital (she has already picked up a stomach bug, which has now beeen cleared up). I'm going to take a couple of days off work to get her settled, but not too long because I think it's important that we get in to some type of routine. I'm going to work from home for 4-6 weeks, so I will be around for her if she needs me.

I'm going to give it a few days before having Community Psychiatric Nurses and Occupational Therapists visit the house. And hope that mum improves when she is in her own surroundings - it must surely be better than being in hospital.

Thanks again for the advice. It has been great coming her over the past few weeks. It's difficult to deal with this type of situation on your own, so it's been good to have somewhere to spill out my thoughts and get some advice from those who know what it's like.
Hi Jim I have been following your 'thread' regarding your mum with interest. How is she adapting to being back home? I hope she is continuing to improve.

I can only speak from my own experience - firstly, I am not a carer I am disabled and have support from family and friends although I live alone with paid carers popping in. Recently I was very unwell with a UTI and admitted to hospital it took a while to recover from it as I had had it 10 days before starting treatment but I am coping well now back at home.

Let us know how things are now.

from Hillsong
Hello Hillsong, sorry to hear you have been in hospital, however pleased
you are home and improving.

I have been following Jim's thread, and feel the same, Jim, hoping your Mum
is home and a little better.
Hi krys + Hillsong

Mum is back home and is settling in reasonably well, but she is still confused and paranoid. She has developed obsessive behaviour and is cleaning like mad from early morning untile late in the evening. She also thinks that she needs to pay the hospital a large bill for her treatment.

She saw a psychiatrist last week and he has said that she is still suffering the after-effect of a UTI, but should return to normal. This could take weeks though. He has prescribed a small dose of anti-depressant and anti-psychotic, but it will take another week to see whether they have a positive effect.

The psychiatrist has said that she has vascular dementia, but he thinks that her memory is still pretty good, and that he reckons there is a good chance she will return to her normal self.

I'm pretty stressed. Mum has had lots of health problems for a long time but she has always been mentally sharp and able to lead a very independent life most of the time. Things are just very uncertain because she can't be left on her own at the moment, so I don't know whether I am going to be able to keep working, full-time or part-time. All of my friends have parents who are much younger than mum, and they don't understand when i say that I can't go out on the spur-of-the-moment.

It's a difficult time, and everything seems uncertain, but I'm determined to do the best for her, and I'm beginning to cope a bit better with things (although I hope i am not tempting fate by saying this!!!).
Hi Jim

I am pleased you are posting, sometimes it does help to talk to
other people about everything.
I hope you find a way around work, as you also have to think of yourself,
it is not easy giving up work and staying at home caring 24/7 as I am
sure a lot of people on this forum will tell you.
I hope your Mum continues to improve, and I know there are carers on
this forum who look after elderly parent/s and maybe they can help you.
Take care Jim