She needs 24 hour supervision! Here are the available services.
I hear this all the time from families who call me in panic mode. A worried daughter will call saying “My Mom needs senior care 24/7, she cannot be alone and I can’t be there with her all the time!” Most of the time 24 hour care is not actually necessary, and through a simple needs assessment we can quickly identify the areas of concern and the services required and the technology available to promote safe and independent living. Our goal is to help you find a realistic and sustainable solution. However, sometimes 24 hour care is required.
Here’s an example:
I met Bess in her beautiful house in Burlington about 3 months ago. Her husband had just passed away and he had been her primary caregiver for the past eight years. During my initial assessment Bess seemed to have significant cognitive impairment, but she had not seen a family doctor for almost a decade and was on no medications, so no official diagnosis had been made. Her children live quite a distance away and she is now alone in her house. The assessment was a challenge because she was cooperative when talking about her garden and her home, but became quickly agitated and aggressive when the conversation turned towards her health. She is extremely wary of strangers and she repeatedly refused entry to our staff when they arrived for a scheduled visit for home care services. Her safety became such a big concern that her daughter called an ambulance when she came to visit her Mom and found her vomiting in the kitchen sink after drinking a whole bottle of shampoo.
When Bess was discharged from the hospital she agreed to have personal support workers come to help her. In collaboration with the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) we coordinated 24 hour supervision for Bess as part of the wait at home program. The CCAC provided three hours of care per day, and CalaCare covered the remaining 21 hours that our government expects families to provide. For Bess this expectation was unrealistic since her daughter lives in Winnipeg and her son lives in Victoria. This 24 hour supervision was necessary to ensure Bess was taking the medications prescribed in the hospital, cueing her and assisting her with using the washroom and bathing, as well as ensuring she was eating a nutritious diet- free of shampoo and other household products. From time to time she would insist on a teaspoon of teriyaki sauce in her coffee, and the staff would agree to this safe, but odd request.
If Bess didn’t have someone with her 24 hours per day she would not open the door or refuse entry to staff coming for only a few hours at a time. She was also at risk of wandering from the house, and harming herself through the consumption of household products. With someone there with her already, the transition was smooth, her mood improved and she seemed to enjoy the company. Usually 24 hour care is a short term solution after a health crisis, at the end of life, or while appropriate long term housing arrangements can be made. For Bess, her daughter was able to arrange for her Mom to move in with her in Winnipeg. Bess is receiving home care services locally during the day while her daughter is at work. She is now in a safe environment with her family.
It was wonderful to be able to bridge the gap in senior care services for Bess. If you are feeling like your parent or family member needs 24 hour care, give me a call or send me an email and we can talk about your options. I’m always happy to help!
-Jennifer Kazmaier RN