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 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.