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Simple Self-Care Tips When The Call Comes...

In the caregiver community, it’s a known fact that another caregiver’s experience can shed light and bring value to your own experience. We’re all in this together, focusing on the everyday needs of our loved ones while providing optimal care.

Brad, a co-worker of mine, is the primary caregiver for his 91-year-old mother who lives alone in the family home where he was raised. She’s located in a Northeast Ohio suburb, approximately 30 minutes away from him. He has a brother, who lives about two hours away and does not visit their mother often.

Brad is a hard worker who is dedicated to his career, his family, and his mother. But his priorities haven’t necessarily always fallen in that order. His weekends are spent shopping for his mother, cooking for her in her home, and taking care of any odd jobs needed around the house and property.

During the week, Brad pays a private caregiver to cook meals for his mother and assist with her personal care so he can be free to focus on work. At times, his mother calls him with an

unexpected need, typically due to an electronic mishap, or an issue in the home. According to Brad, some of the calls are valid, others are not. As a result of splitting himself between a

demanding career and caring for his mother, he has very little time for his own family.

Brad’s son is married and lives and works in Los Angeles. Brad looked forward to spending time with his son, who was finally able to visit from LA after a year and a half because of the Covid shut-down.

And then the call came……

His mother’s caregiver noticed that Brad’s mother was not speaking coherently, so Brad rushed to meet his mother and her caregiver at the hospital. As he took in his mother’s gibberish, he also noticed that her thinking process had become disoriented. He knew something was wrong and she needed to be evaluated immediately.

After inconclusive cursory tests, the attending ER physician intended to release Brad’s mother.

Brad pushed back, stating that more evaluations needed to be done. Naturally, he was

uncomfortable with bringing his mother home and feared for her safety. As her advocate, he

insisted that she remain in the hospital to have additional tests and be examined by a neurologist in order to determine a diagnosis. The ER Physician’s reasoning for releasing his mother was the hospital was being selective about admitting patients due to the Covid virus. But, after further discussion, the doctor agreed to admit his mother. Later, after additional tests, they discovered Brad‘s mother had a recent stroke. She was monitored for a few more days before being released to a skilled nursing facility for speech therapy.

The process moved quickly.

Although Brad felt disappointment about not being able to visit with his son, Brad believed he

should stay at the hospital to advocate for his mother due to her speech issues, and be on site to talk to the doctors about her plan of care.

In the meantime, he had to quickly select her skilled nursing facility. Fortunately, the hospital had reserved two floors for rehab and the decision was made to simply move her to another floor rather than to another facility.

The doctor informed Brad and his brother that their mother would need to be fully supervised

upon release from the skilled nursing facility, based on the medication they would give in order to prevent another stroke. She would become a fall risk with the new medication, but it would ensure she would no longer experience blood clots or remain at risk of having a stroke.