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What you need to know when choosing a nursing home

What you need to know when choosing a nursing home
May 31, 2017 ha

It looked like a four-star hotel, with flowers in the foyer and art on the walls, but the problems began almost as soon as Bill Lawrence’s mother moved into her private nursing home.

Bad food, negligence around medication, and a poor standard of care which led to his mother being hospitalised for dehydration meant that the period she spent in the home were, the retired businessman now says, the most stressful time of his life.

So angered was Bill by his experience that he wrote a book on it, When the Unacceptable Becomes the Norm; Choosing A Care Home in the 21st Century.

Published last weekend, the book aims to provide a guide for people trying to source care for an ageing parent while knowing little about the care sector.

The issue is increasingly significant for Irish families. CSO projections show the number of elderly people in the population is growing rapidly — as is the projected rate of dementia.

In 1961, there were 315,000 people aged 65 or over, here. By 2011, that figure had increased by 70% to 535,393, and, by 2046, it’s expected that the number of people over 65 in this country will have reached 1.4 million. Meanwhile the number of people with dementia, of which Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form, is expected to rise from an estimated 48,000 in 2015 to around 140,000 by 2041.

In 2007, Bill Lawrence — the name is a pseudonym he adopted to write the book —was informed that his 96-year-old mother, who had a degree of dementia, was no longer capable of living alone.

Bill moved her into what he called a “new, attractive, purpose-built” facility in the UK.

“It looked super,” he recalls. However, almost immediately, he and his wife became concerned.

When nursing home staff wanted to change his mother’s medication regime, he referred them to her GP and was assured they had consulted the doctor — only to hear from the GP that she’d never spoken to anyone from the home about his mother. He and his wife struggled with an array of problems, including poor quality food, carelessness about medication, and a failure to ensure she was adequately hydrated — at one stage during her stay, she had to be hospitalised with dehydration.

Bill’s mother passed away in 2012 at the age of 102, after six years in the facility — by which stage, despite the problems, her care was costing £28,000 annually.

Read the full article at source:  Irish Examiner


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