Friday, May 21, 2010

Carrie, Defender of the Old

I've been really preoccupied lately with this notion that this nation needs some sort of Elder Advocacy program. Kind of like CASA, only for old people. They could be their advocate for lots of things...like dealing with the cable company (this makes our residents crazy) or helping them get out of jury duty, but most importantly, they could advocate their healthcare.

Just this week we've had two residents go to the hospital with some type of chemical restraint used because of "behaviors exhibited" by the resident. In one case, the resident had a UTI (this makes old people act crazy), had fallen, and was given MORPHINE for the fall-related pain.  She threw her breakfast tray at the nurse.  Um, who wouldn't act crazy if they are 94 years old, on strong antibiotics, in as strange place and on freaking morphine???  Instead of considering any of that, the nurse called the doctor and got an order for a psychotropic med for "behaviors."  All without the resident's permission...because they deemed her unable to think rationally.  I'm pissed just writing about it.

Second example.  Another resident is also in the hospital because of a fall. She has dementia. She is in unfamiliar surroundings and she was frightened.  She kept pushing her call light. (apparently a lot...but who cares??)  The nurse called the doctor and got an order for Xanax for her nervousness.  When her daughter visited, the resident's eyes were glassed over and she was DROOLING!  No one had even notified (or ASKED) the daughter, who is the medical POA about the Xanax! Incredible!!!

Since there is no Elder Advocacy Program (yet), I made one up. Today, I advocated. I did not make any friends at the hospital, and I'll probably never get another referral from them.  But my old people are safe, warm, loved, and off unnecessary mind-altering drugs.

The End.

8 comments:

Carolina John said...

dude if all it takes was some crazy eyes and throwing things to get psycotropics, then my kids would be drooling every day. wait, they do drool every day.

chirunner said...

I hope when I'm older someone has my back like you do for your residents.

Diana said...

Can you put my name on the waiting list for your place! I want to be with you when I get old!
Way to play patient advocate-I am totally the same way. If it wasn't for us, I'm afraid to even think about some situations.
People sometimes just don't think "outside" the box.

Tyger Lily said...

Good.For.You!
My heart broke just reading that :(
Hope I have someone like you to care for me if I am ever in that situation!

Marna said...

Yikes.

Ange said...

In a sad way, this makes me think of a lot of stories I've heard over the years about late talking preschool kids.

So I guess it's pretty rampant. Cutting corners and pushing drugs to make the work place more 'tolerable' and then just plain socially acceptable cuckoo's nest.

I'm so glad you're looking out.
I'd support any advocacy group you got going.

P.O.M. said...

Carrie... this might just be your next project/calling. I mean, what a great idea. I agree, it seems that our society doesn't take care of or even care about our old.

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Way to go, lil sis! You're my hero!