Sunday, June 6, 2010

I survived my week in respite care!

Respite care,

I survived my first experience in a respite care facility, all in all it wasn't a bad experience yet nothing comes close to the conveniences of home.
If you're curious here is a link to the facility I stayed at.

A total of four buildings make up this care facility the other buildings are almost identical in construction and layout consisting of six floors. I was on the fourth floor West Wing which is normally reserved for people suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's, normally they would've provided me with a room in the East wing reserved for people with mobility impairments however it was filled to capacity  I was in no position to argue quite satisfied just to have a place to stay.

The room was adequate yet very sparse there is no luxury here, one single bed, a dresser a small nightstand that is it there is no television or telephone.  If a resident would like a television it's bring your own and contact the cable company to hook you up before your arrival.  Same goes with the phone it's bring your own yet they will supply and activate the phone line for $35.  I was fortunate in that the phone line in my room was activated yet connecting to the Internet using dial-up is archaic and certainly not dependable yet it was better than nothing.  Had it not been for my computer I would have gone senile for certain then they could have kept me for good reason.
This respite facility is meant for temporary stays with a maximum duration of 21 days.  This rule does not appear to be cast in stone as several people have been there for many months waiting for an opening in a permanent residence.

The food was not bad considering it is not "a la carte." You have no choice with the meals except for breakfast where they have a selection of cereals, toast jams and fruits.  Lunch and dinner are fixed pre-planned and for the most part I was quite satisfied with the portion size and quality.  There is only one meal that I really didn't enjoy which consisted of a salmon baked pie.

Things they should tell you prior to your arrival are things like the television and telephone requirements mentioned above, they provide free washing service for your clothes but you have to provide your own soap which is considered part of your toiletries.  I found the employees receptive and ready to please and meet your needs, the day shift employees were outstanding yet come the evening shift the attitude of the entire floor patients including staff changed quite noticeably.  It seemed as if their primary goal after serving dinner was to quickly tend to everyone's needs in order to put the patient's to bed.  Later in the evening I could usually hear them laugh as they gathered in the kitchen just opposite my room.  It wasn't the same as the day shift who truly enjoyed their work and that was quite apparent.

On the second evening it was very warm so I decided to go downstairs and exit the building for a bit just to get some fresh air.  The elevator wouldn't respond to my pushing the button and no matter how many times I tried nothing happened until finally an attendant walked by and I asked her how to get downstairs.
My name and condition had obviously not made its way through the maze of paperwork and I was politely informed that it was not permitted for me to exit the building, when we checked the list to verify those people with this permission my name wasn't there.  I smiled  returned to my room thinking how is it possible for me to get upset with someone who is actually doing their job?  The problem was fixed the next morning I was able to come and go as I please.

The highlight of my week had to be the visit I received from our friends who not only spent a few hours with me but also came in with a Tim Horton's in hand.  Unfortunately I did not see that many visitors during my stay as a matter of fact other than my friends I do not believe anyone else received a visit which is truly heartbreaking.

As for the facilities specifically the washrooms in each room they are not I repeat they are not accessible for handicapped individuals.  As you will see in the pictures provided the first morning when I sat in my chair in front of the mirror getting ready to shave the only thing I could see was the top of my head.  The mirror is mounted very high and not even at an angle.  There is a shower in each room however the sill is quite high there is no bench and finally the toilet is a standard toilet with a plastic booster seat and one grab bar mounted on the wall.  This applies to all rooms on this floor which in my opinion is totally unacceptable.  The only reason I can see the government giving this location accreditation is for the simple reason that they have one large room with a huge bathtub and a separate room with a totally accessible shower.  This allows them to provide patients with a weekly bath or shower and this appears to meet the standards set forth by the government.  A picture is worth 1000 words I'll let you decide.

My wife spent an enjoyable week with my daughter, son-in-law and our grandson which made it all worthwhile.


Karen said...

I am glad the experience wasn't too bad for you, and I am happy you are back home.

I had to put my mom in respite care for a week every summer while hubbers and I went away on vacation. She had Alzheimer's and lived with us for 7 years. The facility we used always seemed good to me, but she always told me that the place was horrible and she would rather die than go back. I am happy to hear they really aren't that bad.

I hope your wife took a lot of pics of your grandson for you :)

MikeH said...

Hello Karen,
Thanks for your comment is great to hear from people once in a while.
I would presume that facilities vary greatly from one area to another and some give better care than others yet I understand you. I lost my mom due to some form of dementia six years ago the last few years she spent in a long-term care facility one which I will never be able to afford. This place was luxurious in every aspect yet people still complained constantly about the service or food.

As for the pictures that's funny, if my wife went somewhere I always asked her to take some pictures it was great if she came back with a dozen or so. This time she came back with close to 200! And of course we had to have each of them developed at Costco now we need to select a few and have them enlarged. Oh well that's life now the only problem I can foresee is the day when she wants to move closer LOL
Take care

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