Can we move her back to the nursing home?

1 answer | Last updated: Apr 28, 2010
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mother is 81. she has COPD and for about six or seven years she's been in and out of hospitals/ nursing homes (for rehab) but has lived by herself. This summer she got sick with pneumonia and was either in a hospital or nursing home except for one week at home. After that week a nurse from her home care service called me to say she needs 24- hour care and more rehab and she had already set up admittance to a nursing home the next day. She only had 25 days of Medicare left.

The caseworker at the nursing home talked to me about getting her in a nursing home long term if we wanted to go that route and it would be in a Medicaid bed since my mom lives on a fixed income. The social worker found a nursing home to take her for the remainder of her Medicare rehab and it ran out yesterday so this morning she was transferred to the Medicaid vendor bed.

She has limited mobility with a walker and since she's been at this home they keep her in a wheelchair so she can't really rehab too much if she's in a wheelchair all of the time. I think she can use the bathroom on her own still. Her short term memory is getting bad, but her long term is good still.

My question is, we're thinking of bringing her home to live with us. But we don't know if we're up to her living with us or giving her the proper care she needs. But how hard would it be if we took on more than we could chew? Can we take her back to a nursing home?

Thanks for listening and please give us some insight. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

Expert Answers

As Founder and Director of Circles of Care, Ann Cason provides caregiving, consulting, and training services to individuals and public and private organizations involved in eldercare. She is the author of Circles of Care: How to Set Up Quality Home Care for Our Elders.

Yes, if you can move your mother home from the nursing home to home and then back to the nursing home if it doesn't work out.

Here are a few suggestions to help. If you can make it work at home, it will benefit your whole family.

  1. Try to hire a geriatric care manager, who specializes in home care, to hel assess your home for workability and who will provide psychological support. It is wonderful to have someone who tells you, "You can do it." And then gives help to make it happen.
  2. There will be details to work out. Does your mother have oxygen? Find out where the equipment will go and about the general mechanics of working with oxygen. Does you mother get up at night to urinate? Will you need a bedside cammode or can she walk to the bathroom? Is any lighting necessary?
  3. Is your mother wakeful at night? If so is she independent or needing help. A family member can usually tolerate getting up once or twice,but may need help if too much sleep is missed.
  4. Since your mother is on medicaid, check with your county to see what services are available for care at home. Is there a medicaid waiver? Is there a nursing home without walls program? Is there support for helping elders get out of the institution into the community? Or is there respite care for the family. Some assisted living homes have rooms for respite care if the family needs to go on vacation.

  5. Trust your self. Your eye is good. It would be good to get your mother out of a wheelchair as much as possible. It is good for her lungs and good for her legs and good for her state of mind.

  6. Use your mother's limited income to get help for yourself.You will have more time to do enjoyable things with your mother. What is it that you could use help with? Do you want a house cleaning service? Do you need help with shopping or laundry. Would it help to have someone come twice a week to give your mother a bath?
  7. Don't try to do it all yourself. Create a little team, make it nice for yourself so your mother won't feel guilty.
  8. Last, but not least, communicate with your siblings. Let them know your plans. Draw up a plan. Show how you would spend any money for the benefit of your mother. Include them in it as much as they would like.