When a parent gets older, he may need assistance to get through each day. Here are some tips to help you discuss long term care assistance with your elderly relative.
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Local Articles in Akron
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Caregiver reviews in Akron
In nearly everything I have looked up,
has received very high and favorable reviews.
This makes me wonder 2 things:
Was our experience that much of an anomaly or are the home care
providers’ expectations for hospice services in general that low?
Our decision ...MoreRead more of this review to hire a hospice service was well thought out
and, we thought, well researched. We
spoke with hospital personnel; we researched online; we interviewed several
hospice representatives. During our interview
sessions, I took copious notes as to what each service had to offer, how they
differed, etc. I was very glad I did
this. It enabled me to confront our
hospice “team” regarding what they said their program offered vs. what we
I clearly remember a comment that was made during the
interview process, I guess to make us feel better: “There are hundreds of families that do this
every day.” I do not doubt the validity
of that comment, but it does not begin to address the difficulties that are
brought to bear when one signs on with a hospice and when said hospice drops
the ball time and again.
My sister had been in the hospital for 5 weeks and was dying
from cancer. By the time we (her husband
and I) made our decision to hire ’s, we took my sister home on a
Friday. We were nervous and concerned
about our as caregivers, of course, but the staff kept reminding us they
have nurses on call 24 hours a day. That
Friday afternoon, we were told to expect “our” nurse, one of the main “team”
members we were supposed to count and rely on.
She arrived very late in the afternoon and had me a bit concerned about
some things, which I immediately addressed.
She assured us she would be with us for awhile. Prior to leaving, she also reminded us of the
24 hour nurse-on-call policy, should we require help. Well, it turns out we did require help. Here’s what the folks at ’s ’t
tell you: There is a nurse on call…maybe
two. But there are a whole lot more
folks calling for help than there is help available. The call center can tell give you a time
frame in which to expect the nurse, but you will surely get bumped if something
more urgent arises. So although we
called and requested additional medical help, nobody made it to our house that difficult
The following week, a different nurse showed up. It was his job to tell us that—surprise—“our”
nurse was now being replaced and they had not yet reassigned anyone to us. In our initial interview, the woman kept
stressing we would have a “team”; we would feel “supported”. Instead, I felt like we were left alone to
fend for ourselves. I felt like my
sister and my family were an afterthought of ’s.
Also, I learned to be leery of the whole nurse situation. Perhaps it was the time of year. Perhaps our situation was way out of the
ordinary. But the theory that we would
have essentially one nurse assigned to us did not out, either. Oh, we had a nurse assigned and he was a
bright spot during the week…when he was on duty. He took so much time off during my sister’s
last month that we were again never 100% certain who would show up. This brings with it its own set of problems: Incessant repeating of facts our main nurse
would have known; the comfort levels of the patient and other care givers;
different ways of handling situations.
Furthermore, we were not always notified. Some nurse would show up and assume we knew
to expect a substitute; we usually did not.
Strangers often entered our home at a time when emotions were fragile
and nerves were frayed. In fact, having
been given no warning, our case nurse was not available the week my sister
died. The nurse with us that last week
was so kind and caring, but there were uncomfortable moments of just not
knowing who would show up. This was another
added during what is, to date, the worst week of our lives.
In reviewing what was promised vs. what was provided, it is
important to discuss the home health care workers supplied by ’s. They do have them, yes. But, at least in our case, they did not work with us.
They would call very early in the morning and say they were on their
way. Never did they ask if that was
convenient for us or offer to pre-schedule an appointment. I will admit, my sister was very lucky that
her husband was able to afford to hire a full time home health from a
local company throughout this experience.
There was one in particular from ’s who did not view
this as an opportunity for two people to work together for the benefit of my
sister. Instead, she took it up herself
to boss our agency worker around while she herself did as little as
possible. In our own best interest, we
asked to discontinue the use of home health aides.
Finally, I’d like to address the social worker fiasco. We were told that was our main liaison. From our perspective, the role of the social
worker was either grossly misrepresented when we had our initial interview or
we just got shafted. Weeks went by with
no communication from the social worker.
I finally called and requested a meeting. The primary goal was to go over the
pre-hiring notes and promises as compared to the reality of what was not taking place. To the social worker’s credit, she admitted
that we had indeed fallen through the cracks.
Unfortunately, as I pointed out, this was our one and only experience
with this organization and we hired them based on what we had been promised. And not that even this meeting really
mattered much. Our social worker quit
several weeks later and the new one surfaced just about the time my sister
passed away. So instead of the comfort
of someone we had come to know and rely on for support, we were confronted with
a stranger in our space, making the whole situation even more tense, impersonal
and unpleasant for us.
I regret, for the sake of my sister, that we hired .
’s Hospice for the last 3 months of her life.
I knew one day ...MoreRead more of this review I would be contacting Dr. B. due to the age of our dog and decide to reach out via email and tell her who we were and about our dog, . She was prompt in replying and said she was there if we ever needed her and to contact her if we felt she needed to come assess his needs.
A few weeks later, she came to our home ~ pockets full of dog treats ~ and during a two hour visit was able to diagnose his condition, gave us tips on things to watch for and did a full physical on him. This visit was not only for him, but for us in learning to deal with the present and prepare for the future.
Just a few weeks later and after 's health seemed on a rapid decline, we decided to schedule a time for her to come. While it might sound callus to 'schedule' having a dog put down, we did this in order to have some control over the situation and we are very happy we chose this means.
For us to wait until he was worse put him and us at risk that he might suddenly be in pain, be unable to walk at all, who knows. It also allowed us to clear our day of work, appointments, etc. and be fully present for him instead of risking that he might have a health crisis when we were gone or during the night.
When May 5th came, we got up early, fixed breakfast and got bacon and eggs ~ something he usually couldn't tolerate due to food allergies. He loved it ! When Dr. arrived with her aid, was overjoyed to see this person who carries pockets full of treats and wouldn't leave her side. When we decided it was time, we spread a blanket out under the trees and while he was busy stealing bites of cheese from me, she gently injected him with a sedative. He didn't feel a thing.
Within 3-4 minutes, he went from 'all about the cheese' to 'I think I'll curl up here and take a nap." There was no staggering, drugged look about him. He just looked like a very content dog with a belly full of food and loving pats all around. He was soon sound asleep and snoring loudly. Again, this eased the transition as he did not look drugged ~ just peacefully napping.
Dr. told us every step of the way what she was doing or about to do and always asked for our permission before moving on. At this point she asked if we were ok with her administering the final injection. Seeing how peaceful he was and knowing that we had made the right decision for him, she took that last step and then listened to his heart. Within a couple of minutes she said he was gone.
All I could think of was how peaceful it was and how he had drifted off to his next life while lying in his favorite spot in the yard on a blanket in the morning sun with his family around him. I could only wonder why we're not able to offer this to our human loved ones, because this would certainly be my choice as to how to leave this earth.
We were given as much time as we wanted to say goodbye. We wrapped him up in a sheet along with his favorite bone and stuffed bear. Dr. B and her aid carried him to her car on a small stretcher where he was then taken to Faithful Companions Pet Cremation in Jeffersonville, IN. As we had requested, a few days later we received his ashes back. They arrived in a beautifully carved wooden box with a certificate, a stamp of his paw print, a clipping of his fur and a nice card from Dr. B.
The final charge for Dr. to come to the house that day, the cremation and return of ashes was $400.
All in all, I can't think of a single way in which this could have been improved upon. Dr. is kind, compassionate and delivers a much needed service in the pet community through geriatric, palliative and hospice care.
The bed mattress and chair that they provided did not fit my mother or her needs, resulting in pressure sores for the first time in her 88 years. The hospice staff then tried to blame those equipment choices on the long term care facility ...MoreRead more of this review where she has lived for 12 years, but I knew from first hand communications that the equipment choices were made by the hospice staff. They seemed to make little, if any, effort to coordinate their nursing aid's services with my mom's long term care facility staff.
Although the hospice staff explained a few things to me such as certain palliative medications and their purposes, other than through visits from the clergy, they mostly left it to me to inform my 3 siblings about what to expect, when to ask for "as needed" drug doses, and other specifics regarding how we could best help our mom through the dying process. There was very little bedside help from hospice in getting through the final days and nights.
This was such a disappointing change from the great care they provided to our dad in 2004. Based on my recent experience, I can't recommend choosing .
Caregivers in Akron, OH
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