Merv cared for his mum who had Alzheimer’s dementia at home. There was an incident in which Merv’s mum became incoherent and fell sideways. She was admitted to hospital where her condition worsened. Merv never found what caused his mum’s deterioration. He shares his story.
Mum appeared as normal and then suddenly one day when I was sitting on the lounge talking to mum she became incoherent and fell sideways. She didn’t lose consciousness, but was unresponsive. The ambulance attended and took mum to the local hospital. I followed and spoke with staff about mum’s condition.
Mum had hospital tests, but they did not reveal a cause for her collapse. In the following days, mum’s condition worsened and within four days she had lost the ability to walk, talk or feed herself. No-one could explain why this was happening and I felt that more could have been done to find out. Instead I was told that mum would have to go into short-term care for rehabilitation. Unfortunately mum did not recover and went into a care home.
I was left with the nagging feeling that perhaps more could have been done for her. I still wonder what happened and I have been doing a lot of research and reading since.
When someone gets sick suddenly their family want to know the cause, if there is any treatment, what is the likely course, and if they can recover. I expect that sometimes medical staff have to have difficult conversation with families about why further investigations or further treatment is not warranted. People with dementia get sick and may develop delirium. They can have strokes, heart attacks and develop cancer just like everyone else. Family members of people with dementia need explanations about these conditions and the opportunity to discuss the next steps, otherwise it can feel that people with dementia are automatically dismissed and excluded from investigations and treatment.