My cruel experience when my husband was admitted to hospital
I recently had the experience of having my husband, an Alzheimer sufferer, admitted to hospital.
I have no quarrel with the care he was given. In fact I was grateful for the care & attention shown by both the nurses & doctors. However, I was very disturbed by his reaction to the new environment – strange surroundings & complete strangers.
He became very restless; pulled his clothes off; pulled out drips & catheters and tried to climb over the side rails. He had never behaved like this before &, at first, I thought that this was another stage in the ongoing progress of the disease. However, when he returned home he was a different person, much more settled & in control, although I needed to bring in a caregiver to help with dressing, bathing, & walking. He soon accepted her as his environment was familiar & she was a regular presence.
Two weeks later he was back in hospital with pneumonia & again, there was a recurrence of the demented behaviour.
On his return home, he again settled down.
My plea is that,
Firstly, the family be advised as to their options – hospital, with the accompanying distressing behaviour
Home nursing, more calming but also more expensive as many medical aids do not subsidise this. Under a supervising sister this could be as effective especially for conditions such as pneumonia.
Secondly, the Medical Aids be approached to give serious consideration to providing for home care instead of hospitalisation. Their cost would be at least a third of the hospital cost.
CRUEL is the only word that I can use to describe the mental effect of hospitalisation on the Alzheimer patient.