Tag Archives: Broken Hip

The Hospital Maze – Family Physician, Hospitalist and Specialists

Mom’s recovery was complicated by many factors. She was originally expected to be discharged within a week, but then required a second surgery, and had multiple unexpected problems. Soon she was followed by a family physician, 2 surgical groups, a physical therapist, a nephrologist, a urologist, a cardiologist, an oncologist, and a pulmonologist who was also the hospitalist for the intensive care unit. I had a hard time getting information about mom’s condition and prognosis until I learned to work with this maze of physicians. This lack of effective communication between myself as mom’s health care surrogate and the physicians left me with a lasting sense of failure as I was unable to prepare dad for mom’s impending death. Continue reading

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Informed Consent Decisions in the Hospital — How to Know When to Say “NO”.

Starting with the very first day I was there, doctors were asking me to sign “informed consent” forms for various procedures. Each form explained the risks and benefits, but it was hard for me to take it all in – in context with mom’s current condition and prognosis. For one thing, I had no clear idea of either her condition or her prognosis and couldn’t get the doctors to spell it out for me. How could I give “informed consent” when I wasn’t really “informed” about the implications of the procedure?

I felt like there wasn’t enough focus on mom’s quality of life and her prognosis. If there were little likelihood of her recovery, we would make different decisions. We would opt for less invasive treatment and more “comfort care”. My problem was that I didn’t know where to draw the line when the doctor asked for “consent”… Continue reading

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In the hospital – The First Focus was on Rehab.

At first I expected mom would be discharged soon, relearn to walk and go back to her Assisted Living Facility with dad, so I chose the first older rehab facility. Later, when mom’s condition worsened and it looked like she would have multiple health problems even after discharge, I changed my preference to the 2nd, more modern facility.

Mom’s condition continued to worsen and I spent most of each day trying to see the various doctors and respond to the crisis of the day. One day one of the nurses said to me: “Honey, you’re never going to be able to bring your mother home. The best you can hope for is to get her to the rehab center.” Continue reading

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The Phone Call I had been Dreading Came that Night

Because of her dementia and dad’s Alzheimer’s, neither remembered by the next day that she had even fallen. Dad didn’t understand why mom wasn’t in the room with him. Mom wasn’t sure why she was in the hospital. The x-rays showed she had a fractured hip and would need surgery.

I told her they wanted to operate on her broken hip. She said OK. I told her she needed to understand that this was a serious operation and that at age 90 she could die from the surgery. She said: “I’m 90 years old. What do you expect”? Tears started to run down my face as I said :”OK, mom. I will tell the surgeon it is OK to operate.” Continue reading

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Mom’s Dementia and the next Crisis

….On the other hand, she was glad someone was watching over dad. “God looks after the little children and the crazy old people she said”….. That same night I got a call from a nurse at the Gardens. Mom had fallen and was being transported by ambulance to the hospital. I called the companion service to have someone sit at the ER with mom and report back to me. Mom was admitted with a broken hip. I needed to talk to the surgeon in the morning as they needed my permission to operate. It looked like I would have to fly south sooner than I planned. Continue reading

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