Several years ago, I blogged on this topic. Sadly this issue continues.
I spoke with a daughter yesterday who shared with me that she understood how families can get so overwhelmed that they feel that they have no choice but to leave a parent in the emergency department, and not return to pick them up for some time.
A tragic situation and one that will not be going away any time soon.
Last week’s news out of Halifax headlined as “Nova Scotia family leaves grandmother in ER for a week during Florida trip” continues to raise concerns regarding our access to health and support services.
The lack of appropriate supports include limits on publicly funded home care services which are never adequate on their own when trying to ensure the safety of an elder with dementia. The demands on whatever family can be identified continues to mount and with seniors living longer, this situation can only get worse before it gets better.
The daughter, who is an only child, works full time and has a young family. Her mother in her early 70’s has dementia and has gotten lost several times. Her mother is resistant to accepting care in the home and has become threatening with the caregivers on more than one occasion. A dementia friendly residence that caters to younger seniors is needed. I keep hoping that a dementia friendly community/residence designed for a younger physically active senior will be designed; preferably a setting that encourages as much independence as possible and provides for secure outdoor space.
I spoke to another client who called our office to say she was advised by the community care team to canvass her father’s neighbours in his apartment building to see how they could assist him, while the daughter was out of town. This fellow is cognitively intact but medically frail. He is waiting for a LTC placement. Asking neighbours to assist him with his personal care needs is simply not appropriate.
Leaving parents in the ER is not a good choice; I can only imagine that these families are at a total loss and my heart goes out to them yet sadly I do understand how it can happen.