The last month has been a particularly trying one for me and Mom. She has had two hospital stays within a three week period and is now in a rehab facility to regain some of the strength she lost after being contained to her bed for so long.
To be brief:
• First hospital stay was due to infectious colitis (a virus or bacteria that attacks the colon and causes inflammation)
• Second hospital stay was for c.diff (Clostridium difficile, often called "C. diff," is a bacterium that can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon. Illness from C. diff most commonly affects older adults in hospitals or in long term care facilities and typically occurs after use of antibiotic medications.)
What was really shocking to me, and what I’d like to discuss here for those of you who have parents in and out of hospitals, was the mistake the hospitals made with mom’s medications. I am curious if anyone else has experienced the same.
My mother’s medication list and schedule were faxed over from the rest home to the first hospital where a worker transcribed the list onto the hospital’s form. The worker apparently didn’t read closely enough and transcribed “300 mgs of seroquel, ½ tablet (150 mgs), once in the evening” to “300 mgs of seroquel once per day.”
Luckily I was there when my mother was being given her morning meds and was able to clear up the issue before she was given the wrong dose at the wrong time. I chalked this up to a one chance in a thousand mistake until the same exact transcription error happened at the second hospital which is totally unaffiliated with the first!
Unfortunately I was not there to catch the error and Ma had been given two doses over two mornings. Her blood pressure dropped to below 85 on the top, she was extremely weak, slurring her words, and unable to sit up. The doctors became very concerned and rechecked her meds and noticed the error.
Needless to say, the first thing I did when going into the rehab center was personally check the med list with the nurse, pointing out the seroquel doses specifically and requesting to see the transcription when it was done.
It is so clear that my duties as mom’s caregiver did not end when she went into the rest home. In fact, I’ve had to become a more vigilant advocate of my mother’s health now that we are dealing with more organizations responsible for her care (rest home, hospitals, etc.).
Good news is she is on the road to recovery and we believe her rehab stay will only be about a week long. After that, she’ll return to the rest home and I’ll return to my consideration of taking her back home, which seems more unlikely after these hospital stays.