What kind of care should we expect for my grandmother with Alzheimer's in her rehab facility?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 23, 2016
Ghunter asked...

My grandmother has altheimers and fell and broke her hip. She is now in a rehab facility for 2 weeks. She has fallen 3 times and is confused. She wanders at night and gets violent because of her confusion. We are concerned for her safety at this facility but do not know what is normal and what they should be doing to keep her safe. They will not provide my mother any answers. Grandmother was out of bed wandering on Saturday night and became violent when they tried to put her back to bed. They called my mother to come there during the night which she did but when mother asks thenm what she needs to do to keep her safe as she is worried about her and cannot stay with her 24 hours a day, they say they cannot call the doctor until MOnday. So mother is staying there all day and night until Monday. They are not very helpful in helping her understand the process for patients like my grandmother - we are new to this and feel she is not safe. Mother has asked me to come up there and get some answers but I don't know what our rights are. Please help.


Expert Answers

Kay Paggi, GCM, LPC, CGC, MA, is in private practice as a geriatric care manager and is on the advisory board for the Emeritus Program at Richland College. She has worked with seniors for nearly 20 years as a licensed professional counselor, certified gerontological counselor, and certified geriatric care manager.

Hopefully others will read your question and get the message: GET PERMISSION FROM THE PERSON WITH ALZHEIMERS TO SPEAK TO MEDICAL PROVIDERS BEFORE YOU NEED IT.

If your mother's had a document signed by your grandmother authorizing her to speak to her physicians and the staff at any agency or facility, then they would be legally required to give your mother whatever information she requests. As it is, they are not required to explain anything.

That said, I would advise you to find a different rehab community, one that understands the disease and the impact on caregivers and family.

It is very common for people with dementia to be confused and agitated, even violent, when they go from a familiar environment into a hospital or rehab. This is probably the 2nd move, because first she was in a hospital. So she is in a strange place, and doesn't know where to find a meal, her clothes, a drink of water, money for a coke, her bedroom, everything. And she doesn't know how to ask.

Probably having your mother spend the nights with her is good, although exhausting. They are incorrect that they cannot call the physician - They can, and should. I recommend that you contact your local Ombudsman, every county in the U.S. has one. They are federally mandated by the Older Americans Act, or contact the ElderCare Locator, http://www.eldercare.gov. The ombudsman acts as interface between nursing home/rehab and federal oversight. Tell them what is happening and ask for an immediate visit. Do it now.