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Falls and more falls

October 29th, 2015 at 05:23 pm

Scary stuff, from American Family Physician:
"One fourth of elderly persons who sustain a hip fracture die within six months of the injury. More than 50 percent of older patients who survive hip fractures are discharged to a nursing home, and nearly one half of these patients are still in a nursing home one year later.18 Hip fracture survivors experience a 10 to 15 percent decrease in life expectancy and a meaningful decline in overall quality of life."

My mother arrived at the geriatric psychiatric hospital unit 2 days ago. Since then, she has fallen twice. She is okay, but what about the next time.

She fell in rehab several times. She fell in the hospital. She fell in assisted living. I've lost track of how many times she's fallen in the past 2 months.

Each time she's been moved to a different place, I've tried to make it crystal clear she is a high fall risk and that they should take care. It does not seem like Masonicare hospital unit was very well briefed by Masonicare rehab/assisted living, because she didn't start out with a belt on her at the hospital unit.

When she fell there on Tuesday, the nurse acted like it was no big deal, saying "she just took a tumble, but she's okay." I felt like strangling her. WHAT ABOUT THE NEXT TIME? Will she be as blase about it when she falls and breaks her hip again??

When I talked to her supervisor, she said they COULD confine her to the chair, unlike the assisted living place, with my permission. I THOUGHT she would be safe after that, but I was wrong.

Finally, tonight, after I lit into the nurse who told me she fell there AGAIN, she spoke to a doctor and they will have a nursing assistant with her overnight, then review her case again tomorrow.

My mother is extremely weak from sitting around for 6 weeks now. And no matter how many times she falls, her dementia will prevent her from understanding how dangerous it is for her to try to get up and walk on her own.

When kept in a wheelchair, she's safe, but sedentary, and none of these facilities have the capacity, it seems, to work with her and give her the kind of daily exercise she needs if she's ever to recover an ability to walk again.

This is how it goes, I've heard, with old people who break a hip. They never truly recover and then it's a long, slow decline after that.

I truly feel it's only a matter of time before she falls again and breaks something, requiring surgery. Then her mind will really be gone.

This is what happens when you put a loved one in any kind of institution, I don't care if it's a hospital, rehab or assisted living. You lose a lot of control over what really happens to them, because the truth is, no one can watch someone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They are not staffed to do that with every patient.

I can't take her home to live with me. She's beyond my ability to care for her myself. I was exhausted after just 1 particularly trying hour with the aide when she was delirious. Even if I hired a live-in aide here, I don't think she'd be safe. The only way I could ensure she was safe is if I quit my job and took care of her myself, and possibly not even I could save her from falling again.

7 Responses to “Falls and more falls”

  1. laura/deacon's wife Says:


    Nothing but prayers for you right now. Take care. (hugs)

  2. CB in the City Says:

    I am so sorry.

  3. Dido Says:

    Hugs.

  4. creditcardfree Says:

    This is very sad for your mother. I feel for you. ((Hugs))

  5. Joanie Says:

    Sending good thoughts - please do not torture yourself with "if I had her at home etc" - having gone through this there is no way you would be able to care for your mother even with help. As difficult as the institutionalized care may be for you to accept it is the only place where your mother will be safe - even with the falls. After the stroke and then the broken hip about a year later, my mom did start the slow decline and died about 18 months after entering care. Unfortunately she had most of her faculties but her decision making was compromised so she would try to do things that she wasn't able to do safely but was aware of her institutional surroundings. Possibly your mom's dementia may be a blessing in that case but much more difficult for you.

  6. Livingalmostlarge Says:

    I am so sorry for this difficult time. Good luck. Usually I hate to say this but hip fractures usually lead to bed rest, then pneumonia and infiltration of the lungs which causes death. It's not the hip fracture but the other things that occur as a result my mom says.

  7. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    {{hugs}}

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