Friday, February 3, 2012

Rummage Boxes

I had a long chat with the social worker/psychologist at Port Macquarie Hospital this afternoon, who provided lots of wonderful advice and support with regard to Barry.

I spent all of yesterday traipsing around nursing homes on the Central Coast, well two of them anyways. I knew the criteria that I needed to meet: secure dementia facility; own room with ensuite; strong activities programme.

The first one, HammondCare at Erina, had the first and second, but not the third. The second one, Woy Woy Community Aged Care, had the first and third, but not the second. I had a long talk with Ross, and we agreed that the HammondCare facility suited Barry more than the other. Baz has lived by himself for 40 years. He might have gone a week without talking to another person!

HammondCare has 74 dementia residents in five cottages. Two of these cottages are for bed-bound residents and they each have 18 residents. There are different cases in each of the other three cottages, but there is one cottage with a vacancy and it houses 10 residents and their housekeeper, plus nursing staff who come in and out. All 10 are ambulatory but with differing needs. Barry is ambulatory with the NEED to do things, to still feel usefully employed.

The social worker and I discussed how to create this sense of contribution for Baz.

Firstly, we need to set up his room appropriately. Less emphasis on the bed and clothing being the focus, and more on the work bench being the focus. A computer table, a work bench, and a part of the courtyard set aside for him to garden and keep tidy.

Then she introduced me to 'Rummage Boxes'. Apparently, they are valuable in the care of dementia patients. I have described them for Ross, and declared their creation and stocking to be HIS responsibiity.

There will be a RB about leather working; a RB about gardening; a RB about clocks; and, a RB about valve radios. That should get us started.

I have a whole bunch of things to do - official things, that involve filling in lots of forms, and making lots of phone calls. And probably going to Port Macquarie for Monday and Tuesday.

HammondCare does not have an official activities programme because it is individual-based care, which is the best sort for dementia sufferers. I gather the best style of care is provided by both HC and by Uniting Care. He lives in this cottage, and his life does not revolve around his affliction but around what he wants to do with himself. Once he can get involved with things that strike his fancy, they will treat the dementia as a side issue.


brattcat said...

you are fortunate to have options. what a fine sister you are.

Joan Elizabeth said...

julie you are so wonderfully organised in knowing your criteria and working it all out. Baz is indeed blessed to have you.

Julie said...

And yet, I don't FEEL like a fine sister. I am committing him to an institution for the rest of his life. I thought to visit him weekly, but realistically, it will be fortnightly.

I have agonised for 10 days now, whether he should be institutionalised or left free to go back to his farm and die, say within 3 months.

How dare I (me) make the decision that just because life is precious, he has to live as long as possible under conditions that he might not accept were he fully cognisant.

And yet, I also know it to be the right thing to do. The socially responsible thing to do.

The whole thing shits me really. Sorry. But it does.

Kay L. Davies said...

Oh, Julie, I know, I know.
I know how you feel. It is such a difficult position to be in, having to make such decisions on behalf of a loved one.
And filling in forms and making phone calls is enough to drive a sane person to distraction.
E-mailing you now.
Luv, K

diane b said...

My thoughts are with you. It is a horrible time in our lives when a family member can no longer care for themselves or when we can no longer care for ourselves. It isn't nice what you have to do but it is the sensible thing to do. You are doing it in an organised fashion. You are lucky to have a choice of places for him.

Julie said...

There is always a choice of places to go see, but they do not all have vacancies, or appropriate vacancies.

Only the HammondCare place has a vacancy out of these two. It is the one which we favour, which is a boon.

However, I find that always being there when they turn around helps wonders with being offered a vacancy when one 'crops up'. And of course, a vacancy requires someone else's relative to die ...

Ann said...

Sounds like a good facility and one where he will be well looked after. You are looking after his interests as well as your own.