ruthless compassion (aroraborealis) wrote,
ruthless compassion


My maternal grandmother has been in slow decline for some time. Recently, she went into an assisted living home, run by a married couple out of their home. Among the rules for her being there are that grandma can't have visitors for more than an hour a day. Recently, they sent my mom this letter:

Hi; today is Thursday and Irene spent the day with the aide yesterday.   We are making progress, and we think she is getting a little used our routine around here, feeling safer and reassured, but has a few setbacks at times.  This morning she woke up in a 'panic', and still complained about her stomach cramp. 

However, the aide that was here yesterday, Nikki, works on the psych floor at my hospital.  She is going to be our #1 aide, aside from the hospice nurses and aides, and she is very personable and well-trained in this area. 

We all feel that Irene is going to do well in this environment, if we can work on her without interruptions from the 'outside'.  It seems that the many daily phonecalls and inquiries just stir up negative and tearful emotions in Irene.  This situation is similar to a drug or alcohol rehab, where residents aren't even allowed to have any phonecalls or visitors for the first 30-90 days. (And actualy, she is almost in a rehab due to the many pills she's been taking, and the new medication regime that we have her on).  The rationale for the restrictions on phonecalls and visits is that it allows the professional team to have therapeutic time for intervention in attempts to teach the individual a new and positive way of dealing with life.  Many times its the family that has enabled the individual to get to this point, simply out of love and caring, trying to help but actually making matters worse.  Ir! ene knows what strings to pull with you all, and as she has told us, she is used to being a Jewish American Princess, always having maids and people and husbands to wait on her hand and foot, and "never having to lift a finger".  As we have explained to her, it will be healthy for her to start doing more for herself and to become more independent, and her fingers will become much more flexible from 'lifting' them more often!!!

So all is well; we are simply asking you all to give us some time here for us to get to know each other, and to give us some space.  She knows that you all are thinking about her and love her, and we feel that the many phonecalls just set her back a little bit each time.  We notice more remorse and tears when she frequently converses on the phone with her many friends and family.

Also, as we stated the other night, we cannot keep up the pace of having to network all the many calls and inquiries each day.  As we do in the hospital, we ask the friends and families to have one spokesperson who gets updates, and relays the news to the other folks. 

We are honored that you have chosen us to take care of your mother, and we are trying to do the best job that we know how to do. 

So, basically, they seem to have the long-range view, which is great for a 70 year old who may have another 10 or 20 years ahead of her, but for someone who may well not live for the next 30-90 days, much less beyond that, seems totally inappropriate to me. They've been very unfriendly to grandma's long-term psychiatric nurse, Jennifer, who's been incredibly helpful in the recent past, and they're unwilling to deal with a check from a money market account because it, apparently, can't be cashed outright but first has to be deposited in a bank account (?). Grandma says that when people are around, the hospice guy is nice and attentive, but when other people aren't there, he's far less attentive and can even be rough.

I told mom that I thought looking for a different hospice was totally reasonable, but now I'm feeling extremely grumpy at the hospice people for being, as I see it, really unreasonable if not downright shady.

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