Huntington's Scene In New Zealand
|Articles taken from September 2000 Huntington's News. The Quarterly Newsletter of the Huntington's Decease Associations of New Zealand|
Three years ago my HD wife was admitted into the local public hospital, because the caregivers and myself could not handle her and give her the care that was needed for her well being.
There she stayed for about six weeks being assessed, treated for some aggression and had her medication changed, and at the end of six weeks she was transferred to a Nursing Hospital which had just been built onto their Rest Home. This hospital is just around the corner from our home and everything could not have been better. She knew some of the staff as she used to go to the Rest Home side of it for day care, once a week.
Her large black Labrador was allowed to visit her, and most of the other patients thought was just great to be able to come up to him and pat him.
The Manager of the whole complex had approached me some time before saying there would be a bed for her in the new wing when it was built. At that stage I told her that there was no need to have her hospitalised but things went down hill soon after that. I checked it all out and asked if they would be able to look after her, and the Manager (an ex-nurse), replied yes, from go to whoa.
Things went along very well for about two and a half years, then one day the Team Leader came up to me and said that they would like to have her assessed again as they were having trouble with her wandering and making it difficult for the other patients. The problem was mainly at night when they only had two staff on for thirty-six patients and she would be on one of her nocturnal wanderings looking for someone to feed her. Another problem that arose was that she would not sleep for up to thirty-six hours and of course when she finally went to sleep she would sleep for a long time. Sometimes up to eighteen hours which meant that she had not had any food for that length of time or longer and would wake up hungry and aggressive.
She then spent ten days being assessed and with changes of medication came out and back to the home with recommendations that they feed her on a more regular basis, which they did. But now there was talk of shifting her out to another hospital because they did not have the staff to handle her. On asking the nursing staff how she was going, the answer would be that she was good and having good days. But when it came to family meetings the information would be otherwise.
My wife is now residing in another hospital, where she seems happy enough and well looked after. How the upheaval of shifting will affect her is still to be seen.
The points I want to make are: -
Why do hospitals and Rest Homes say they can look after HD patients right through, but when the going gets tough move the patient out?
Are they not obliged to have suitable staff to handle this type of patient? (They seem to have a lot of nurse aids)
Is it a money thing at private hospitals that dictates who they look after?
Just something to think about when choosing a suitable place for your HD loved ones.
A Concerned Husband