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Care & carers

Care home ringing

(61 Posts)
Katyj Tue 05-Mar-24 07:07:54

Hi. My mum has been in a care home now since December she’s 92. She’s become more confused over the last few weeks we’re waiting for an assessment.
The care home rang at 11pm last night, saying mum was very confused and would I talk to her.
Mum was very upset, but not crying she said she didn’t want to stay in that place because it was a brothel, there were prostitutes there and a man would be coming soon to get in her bed. Obviously this is very upsetting for her and us. I talked to her for about ten mins but she still wasn’t convinced she was safe. I’ve hardly slept and I’m very upset but just thinking about how she must be feeling.
This is the second time they’ve called when I’m in bed. Has anyone else had this happen. I had hoped the carers would be used to this scenario and be able to deal with it better.

BlueBelle Tue 05-Mar-24 07:18:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BlueBelle Tue 05-Mar-24 07:18:27

Sorry wrong post

Shelflife Tue 05-Mar-24 07:24:45

You have my empathy. My Mum died in a care home she was 91. We had a similar situation , she was very confused and we too had late night calls from her NH., sometimes I went to try and calm her or I spoke on the phone with her. She had such bizarre stories to tell me! It is extremely distressing for you and your mum . I have no advice for you as it is very difficult to know how to deal with this situation. I have been there and am fully aware of how awful this is for you. What I can say is don't beat yourself up about this , I am sure you know there is little you can do to solve the problem. Hang in there , be kind to yourself, I do sympathize and I am thinking of you.

kittylester Tue 05-Mar-24 07:35:23

I wonder if your mum has an infection?

Katyj Tue 05-Mar-24 07:41:35

Shelflife Thank you for your quick reply. I’m sorry you had the Same experience I’d convinced myself I was the only one. It seems so bizarre to me, never having had to deal with anything like this before.
I wasn’t sure wether to go to the home and sit with her, but then I wouldn’t have gone without DH and it doesn’t seem fair on him what a dilemma, think I ended up more confused than her.
Anyway thanks again I’ll see how she is today.

Katyj Tue 05-Mar-24 07:55:22

Kittylester. I don’t think so. When the confusion began a few weeks ago she was tested for a UTI and blood tests done, all clear. The matron said it was just a general decline due to her age. She seems quite well in herself although very frail.

Jaxjacky Tue 05-Mar-24 08:31:49

The home my Mum was in only ever phoned if she was ill, if there had been an incident (someone pushed her over once) or there was a review. The staff handled situations similar to yours, my Mum did have vascular dementia.

Primrose53 Tue 05-Mar-24 09:45:46

Sounds very much like dementia to me. My Mum was the same she was convinced that people came in her room and used her toilet in her ensuite room. Myself and the staff told her so many times that all residents had their own toilets but she wouldn’t have it. We just had to change the subject.

The only time they rang me at night was if she fell over or was ill.

Gwyllt Tue 05-Mar-24 10:54:20

I am sure other posters may well be correct in suggesting dementia. As you mentioned she has been checked for UTI etc
Has by any chance your mums meds been upped or altered. I am not in any position to comments
But when I had open chest surgery for a dissected aorta I developed delirium which apparently can occurs when having been on bye pass and apparently can be aggravated by steroids
By no means the same as your mum
As my op was on a Friday my phone was not returned to me till the Monday
I thought they had jail broken my phone and phoning my contacts
I tried to stay awake all on night as I thought they were trying to kill me as I had overheard something about a nurse making a mistake
I thought I could hear the night staff talking about me about calling a priest for me and phoning my contacts to tell them I was on my way out
Even when I got my phone back I was thought they were listening and told no one what was happening
Although I had settled by the time I went home it was still real and I phoned friends just to check
It is all still clear in my head now some three years latter and know what it was
Unfortunately very little is spoken about delirium and I have talked to a number of nurses who have said their mum had experienced delirium whilst in a care home but obviously I don’t know what meds they were on
Anyone telling me to the contrary in my mind would have been liars
They must have been aware as I had a nurse practitioner visiting me many times a day and just chatting

Georgesgran Tue 05-Mar-24 10:56:36

Just a question (not a criticism) but why would you not have gone without your DH and why would that be unfair for him?
Perhaps it’s a long way and you don’t drive?
My DH just had to get used to me heading out at odd hours to help my Dad, although he was in his own home, just a few miles away.

Witzend Tue 05-Mar-24 11:04:29

It wasn’t exactly the same, but my mother used to get some equally fantastical ideas into her head and get very agitated. They were like angry bees buzzing in her head.*

The only thing that ever worked for me was saying something like, ‘Goodness, that’s terrible, I had no idea - I’ll get on to the police/a solicitor first thing tomorrow.’

Or else, ‘Don’t worry, the police have been informed and they’re already on to it.’

*At the time I was a frequent visitor to a forum for carers of people with dementia, and what used to drive me a bit potty was people (albeit trying to be helpful) saying, ‘Why not distract her by suggesting a nice cup of tea?’

If only anything so bloody simple and obvious would have worked!!!

BigBertha1 Tue 05-Mar-24 11:05:06

I have managed several care homes and we always asked relatives how and when they would like to be contacted. I 'think I would ever have rung a relative at that time of night for what you describe. I would expect the staff to deal with it (if this home i s licensed for the car of people with dementia) and if they couldn't and continued to ring I would definitely want a meeting with the manager and the doctor if I could find one.
I know its terribly distressing for you and you do deserve your rest.

Callistemon21 Tue 05-Mar-24 11:06:44

I was going to suggest possible delirium too, Gwyllt.

Or rapid onset dementia.

Is the home a suitable one for her? Are the staff properly trained in the care of dementia patients. Really, they should be able to cope, there should always be a medically qualified member of staff on duty at all times and there should not be a need to phone you in the night unless it is an emergency.

25Avalon Tue 05-Mar-24 11:07:05

Katyj have you spoken to the care home? They should be used to dealing with this kind of situation. As it is happening at night they probably have less staff on and perhaps less experienced staff but they should be trained and there should be a senior person in charge. You shouldn’t have this horrible worry. Perhaps you need to look at other homes which I know is not easy. The assessment should also do a care plan to meet mum’s needs.

MissAdventure Tue 05-Mar-24 11:12:05

You can ask the care home to phone you only in emergencies, and its quite reasonable to do so.

Grandyma Tue 05-Mar-24 11:23:51

I had the opposite experience when my dad was in a care home. He had Parkinson’s and towards the end became very confused and at times very anxious. I went every day to visit him and one day he told me he had wanted to see me but the lady wouldn’t ring me. I went to find out what had happened and it turned out it was in the early hours of the morning and the night staff hadn’t wanted to disturb me!! I made it very clear that they had my permission to phone me at any time and I would either talk to him or come to see him at any time of the day or night. Sadly, for some unknown reason he had put all his trust in me rather than my mum and brother. We accepted that and I was happy to do whatever I could for him.

fancythat Tue 05-Mar-24 11:24:34

A few months ago I visited someone in a care home.
He is a man.
There is one other man in the home. And the man is prone to wandering into and out of the room of the person I visited. I think the man who is doing that, gets a bit lost, as there is a lounge type place in the next room.

It is just possible that there is a man trying to get into your mum's bed? And possibly a woman too?

biglouis Tue 05-Mar-24 11:36:52

I agree with BigBertha1

You are paying these places extortionate sums of money (if you self fund) and they should be able to handle these minor incidents. They have no business ringing you at night and upsetting you.

I never take a phone into the bedroom unless I am expecting an important call. There is one in the room next door (office) but the ringer is turned off. I dont drive and cant go anywhere at that time so there would be no point in ringing me.

When my nephew was in hospital following a stroke they rang me at 12.00 midnight to tell me he had "absconded". He had gone out for a smoke and been unable to get back into the ward despite persistent ringing. His partner was with him and they got a taxi to his home. I gave the person who rang down the banks for calling me at that time.

What the hell they expected a disabled person in their 70s to do about it I dont know.

Katyj Tue 05-Mar-24 12:06:53

Hi just to answer a few questions. Mums home is for dementia and residential patients. She hasn’t got a dementia diagnosis yet though.
I do drive but the home is a twenty minute away in a rough part of the city I wouldn’t go on my own when it’s dark and DH wouldn’t let me. He’s having a few health problems at the moment so I didn’t suggest going.
DH is always there for me, we’ve had 40 years of getting up in the night, first dad then mum. I was hoping now mums
in care we could relax a bit 🥴 am I selfish ?
Mum has made friends with a couple of men in the home she said last week she had changed his catheter I don’t suppose for one minute she did let’s hope not anyway.
I think the home is generally good no problems through the day there’s lots of staff about, but after 7.30 pm there are only two staff and they may be agency so maybe don’t know mum well. I’ll have to keep my eye on things and see how we go.
I looked at all the homes available at the time, this seemed the most suitable. All the other six homes I looked at employ agency staff during the night at least sometimes. There is a big shortage of carers unfortunately. Thanks again.

Gwyllt Tue 05-Mar-24 14:12:12

Callistemon21 Re rapid onset dementia
I think when someone is in strange surroundings the symptoms of dementia can be more noticeable. Familiarity can mask the severity of the symptoms

icanhandthemback Wed 06-Mar-24 11:22:53

I would much prefer the care home rang me to deal with my mother if she was really distressed. The care staff are brilliant but I really know her and for some reason, she usually trusts me as a safe person even when she can't necessarily 'place' me.

Katyj, I fully understand why you were hoping to be able to relax a bit more. My Mum's first care home had a really good reputation but I couldn't relax with them and eventually the placement broke down due to their negligence when she ended up in hospital at death's door. I visited loads of care homes until I found the one which I thought was most suitable. It was worth the wait. I now visit twice a week rather than everyday because I know the care is there for her. The only way you can relax is if the placement is right.

NemosMum Wed 06-Mar-24 11:23:20

Been there with both my late husband and my dad! The care home should not keep ringing you! Your mum clearly has delusions which might be due to a temporary delirium or to one of the many kinds of dementia. You can ask her GP for an urgent referral to Old Age Psychiatry, or the Older Persons' Service, whatever they call it in your area. She can be prescribed anti-psychotics to settle her. The danger is that if she becomes too much of "a nuisance" to them, they will ask you to find another care home (as happened with my dad), and that would not be good for her. Psychiatry should be offering an emergency service, and if the GP or Psychiatry don't offer you some urgent help for your mother, contact your local PALS (Patient Liaison Service) to which 'soft' complaints can be addressed. Be firm and polite and don't be put off! Good luck.

Juniper1 Wed 06-Mar-24 11:53:15

Is it possible it’s whatever drugs they’re using?

lizzypopbottle Wed 06-Mar-24 12:10:35

Gwyllt a similar thing happened to my mother. She had diverticular disease and from time to time would get an infection and be prescribed antibiotics. Then one day she had an infection, was prescribed antibiotics which didn't work so she was prescribed a different antibiotic which my dad had to collect. At no time, in spite of many worried phone calls from my dad, was she seen by a GP. To cut a long story short, she was in such severe pain and with a distended abdomen that eventually my dad called an ambulance and my mother was rushed to hospital. She had a ruptured bowel and peritonitis. Several hours of surgery later and with a bowel resection and a stoma, we visited her in hospital. She was lucky to have survived and was sitting up in bed but obviously delerious. She thought she saw people from years ago walking around the ward and huge beetles emerging from the light fittings and running across the ceiling! Long exposure to anaesthetic had caused that... (apart from absolute neglect by the GPs)