Tuesday

Bed sores and a testimony

Earlier today I received this email from Jennifer:

I wrote you several months ago as we were building an addition so my father-in-law could move in w/us. He moved in the beginning of Nov. After just a week & a half, he was in the hospital with pneumonia. After 9 days, he came home...1 day before Thanksgiving. Things went downhill fast and I found myself checking his blood sugar (which my 8 year old son taught me how to do!! He had been watching his grandpa and was able to help me), giving him his medicines 4 times a day, filling his syringes with insulin (until the day came that I had to actually inject him!), and monitoring his breathing treatments. As the days progressed and my fil weakened, the day arrived when I had to clean him and care for him. God gives such grace for exactly what we need to do!

He was only home for 2 and a half weeks and then had to be admitted for internal bleeding. The high doses of prednisone he has been on for over a year have done their work.

He has been in a nursing home for several weeks now. We want to bring him back home. He is not alone. He does not need to be there. We can care for him, help him exercise, and do all that they have or have not been doing at the home. He also has MRSA and so the attendants don't go in unless they are gowned, masked, & gloved. He is very isolated there.

He is also one of the sweetest, politest, and uncomplaining persons I know. He does have a sore on his backside that we will have to care for. They also have him on a different steroid that is through an IV. I've been encouraging my husband that we need to be very proactive in asking questions and seeing what we can actually do here...more than what they are telling us right now, I am sure.

We are already getting questions from nurses and other people about why we would want to do this. Why not leave him in the nursing home where others can care for him? We tell them that WE are his family and he is NOT alone and we WANT to do this!! This was why we put on the addition! Granted we didn't expect it to come so soon, but it has and it is what God is calling us to do!

We believe that my fil has decided to come to Jesus for salvation during this time! I'm sorry I wrote so much. Wanted to share... I appreciate knowing some of what we
can do to help with the bed sores! Thank you!

Jennifer, please do not apologize for writing "so much". The testimony of your love for your father in law, and your family's desire to care for him at home is a beautiful one. Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. God does indeed give us grace for exactly what we need at the moment.

Don't be surprised if you continue to receive questions from those in the medical profession, and even family and friends, about why you would want to assume responsibility for your father in law's care, rather than relinquish that responsibility to the nursing home staff. There are many possible reasons why they would like for you to keep your father in law in the nursing home. Doctors like it because they can turn the day to day care of that patient over to the nursing home staff doctor and not have to be concerned about middle of the night phone calls from family. Nurses love caring for patients like your father in law who are kind and not demanding. The nursing staff is also threatened by family who question the care their loved one is receiving.

My advice to you would be to remain proactive in your questioning, but with gentleness. Avoid putting the nursing home staff on the defensive. It will only make it more difficult for you to get the information you need to bring your father in law home.

When I removed my mother from the nursing home, she had bedsores on both heels that the nursing home had neither acknowledged or treated, but Medicare provided several weeks of home health care that was initially very helpful. A home health nurse performed an initial assessment of mother's needs and then obtained the doctor's orders I needed for the treatment of those bedsores. Eventually they also helped me get an order for an alternating pressure air mattress to prevent the development of future bedsores. The nurses instructed me in how to care for mother's bedsores and provided the dressings until her bedsores were healed.

Bedsores are treated according to their classification. They are not all treated in the same way. You will need to ask your father in law's doctor to order initial home health care when he leaves the nursing home so that the home health nurses can instruct you in the particular care needed for your father in law's bedsores.

After mother's heels healed, I was very diligent in my care of her skin. I kept her clean and dry, and repositioned her often. I gently massaged her skin after her morning bath, and again before she went to sleep at night to stimulate the circulation to her skin. The alternating pressure air mattress was the best. It allowed me to sleep at night without having to wake up and turn her during the night. Mother never developed another bedsore.

You might be interested in reading what I wrote about how I cared for her skin here.

Jennifer, please stay in touch and let me know how you and your father in law are doing. He is so blessed to have you for a daughter in law.

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7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are right, Patricia, the nurses all love my fil! I appreciate your caution in dealing with the nursing staff. That is exactly what we have strived to do, be respectful of the nursing home's proticals (I know I'm not spelling that right!) and yet let them know that we truly are serious about caring for him. His doctor has already written an order for the air mattress!! The visiting nurses and therapists are already lined up and the nursing staff assures us that they will instruct us on how to care for those 2 awful bed sores that he currently has. I've taken notes on what you've shared about the care of the skin! Thank you! Jennifer

7:49 AM  
Anonymous PT2006 said...

I'm so glad I have found your blog. You deal with issues that are so familar to me. I work in the health care profession and I don't always agree with the system. I find myself often questioning 'modern medicine'. It is a struggle sometime balancing faith and medicine. Thank God for the strides that have been made in wound care and combating infections.

4:02 AM  
Blogger Patricia from Pollywog Creek said...

pt2006 - I'm so glad you found this blog, too. I do hope that you will share your wisdom and experience here. Yes - I am very thankful for the advances in medicine and technology, and particularly in wound care. The alternating pressure mattress was truly a godsend for me.

7:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Iam Amrita from India. I am a physically challenged 45 yr old single Christian woman who is taking taking of Mom 75 yrs and an Aunt 84 yrs. I feel very close in spirit with you all. Thank you

1:54 AM  
Blogger Patricia from Pollywog Creek said...

Jennifer, I do hope you will stay in touch and let me know how I can be praying for you.

Amrita, bless your heart. God has certainly given you a huge ministry to your family. Please let me know how I can be praying for you, as well.

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Glenys Hicks said...

What is it that your FIL has that is infectious? (Sorry for my ignorance)

Blessings,
Glenys

10:19 AM  
Blogger Patricia of Pollywog Creek said...

Hi Glnys. Jennifer's fil had MRSA, which is a staph infection that is resistent to antibiotics. You can read more about here: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/ar_mrsa.html

6:47 PM  

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