Friday, 8 March 2013

More real life

The search for a nursing home for my father seems to be gathering momentum. The one that was top of our short-list is run by a charity, and they have accepted and begun processing our application for a place for my father. This may take some time (the application has to be approved by the charity's trustees) and for the foreseeable future my father will have to remain in hospital.

During today's visit to see my father in hospital I managed to speak to one of the doctors who is treating him. He explained why my father keeps getting chest infections; he is suffering from dysphasia, which is a medical term for difficulty with swallowing. This is a fairly common amongst people suffering from dementia and can lead to loss of weight and a tendency to develop chest infections, such as pneumonia. The treatment they are using in my father's case is speech and language therapy to learn new swallowing techniques and changing the consistency of the food and drink he is given to make them safer and easier to swallow.

It is too early to judge whether or not the treatment will be successful, but it is encouraging to see that the hospital has at last identified a possible means by which my father's quality of life can be improved.

Real life just got a little bit better.

6 comments:

  1. Hi Bob,

    You must be mightily relieved by this turn of events and hopefully your father will now see some definite progress.

    Now to recharge your own batteries as a matter of priority!

    All the best,

    DC

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  2. David Crook,

    It is a bit of a relief that things seem to be on the up ... but my mind will not be totally at rest until my father is out of hospital and in a nursing home.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  3. Bob,

    Glad to hear that your Dad is approaching successful placement. Dysphagia (with a "G", difficulty swallowing - dysphasia with a "S" is difficulty speaking)in an older patient, especially one with dementia, is a common cause of recurrent (aspiration) pneumonia. Most often the treatment is altering the consistency of the diet, frequently in conjunction with some simple measures such as tucking the chin in while swallowing, if he can remember or be cued to do so. Hope things settle down for both of you.

    Peter

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  4. Gonsalvo (Peter),

    Thanks for the very helpful information (I suspect that the 'g' became an 's' due to a typo on my part. Having looked at the notes of my conversation with the doctor, they definitely say dysphagia.)

    The hospital have already changed his diet and a therapist is trying to 'teach' my father how to eat and drink more effectively. Once he has mastered that, he can be discharged.

    Most nursing homes in the UK are privately run businesses, and are profit-making. There are some run by the local authorities, but they tend to be viewed - rightly or wrongly - as the least best option. The one we are trying to place my father in is run by a charity with which I am associated. It is a not-for-profit organisation, and is as good (if not better) than almost all the others I have seen. In fact it is much more like a private hospital/hotel than a nursing home.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  5. Good to hear some possible contributing factors intentified and ones that can be addressed. I always prefer being in a position to take action than to be wondering in the dark.

    Of course changing someone's habits esp a senior, can be a challenge.

    I wish you success and hope it helps.





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  6. Ross Mac,

    Knowing the probable cause of my father's constant chest infections, and that there is a treatment that might work to reduce its effects, has been somewhat of a relief. I only hope that it works and we can get home into a nursing home as soon as possible.

    All the best,

    Bob

    ReplyDelete