Case Scenario- Elderly, Rose Higgins

Case Scenario- Elderly, Rose Higgins - Introduction to...

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Introduction to Social Work Case Scenario- Elderly “Rose Higgins” My husband, Paul, and I had a good healthy life, when in our mid-70s, he became ill, a bladder operation leaving him in need of a permanent catheter, the infection sometimes affecting his mind. I became ill and had to enter a hospital myself, so our children insisted he go into a nursing home. When I recovered and returned to my apartment at 542 Sunshine Drive, Apartment14-C, on the south side of Kansas City, I visited him. He had been given a small room opposite a noisy laundry room, and a woman patient next door was moaning all night. He said he was going to jump out the window, and I told him he was on the ground floor and could walk out. I sat with him in the dining room with three men who didn’t talk; they had Alzheimer’s disease. The trays were metal and noisy when handed out. He was served a huge sausage, the kind he particularly dislikes, no knife, and a little dish of stewed fruit with a limp piece of cake on top. No fruit juice or water, liquids he was supposed to have plenty of. In addition, he was tied to a wheelchair, making it difficult for him to reach the table. It depressed both of us. At a meeting with the head nurses and an accountant, in which I was asked to sign many papers to make my husband’s acceptance in the nursing home permanent, plus pay a $3,000 deposit in case we got behind in payments. I burst out, “He’s coming home.” The nursing home had started out as a solution to a problem, but it had turned into a nightmare. We could be home in our apartment, would manage some way and die together. Our help at home was erratic, and our children, Paul Jr. age 45 with his three children— Christina, age 19 at Kansas State University; Paul III, age 17 with plans to attend Stanford for engineering; and Bella, age 16 with hopes of a new car with her newly acquired driver’s license—and Mary Beth, our 39 year daughter, newly divorced, and having problems with her twin daughters, Katie and Krystal, age 14—again insisted my husband be placed in a nursing home. He needed more care and often wandered at night, waking me up. Once he fell out of bed at 2:00 a.m., which entailed my calling Paul, Jr. because I could not lift him up or help him to climb back in. This second nursing home was much more elegant, with its Georgian-style architecture, trees, garden, the room itself large and pleasant, but help here was short, and Paul was often left in bed most of the morning. The dining room had none of the clatter of the metal trays and the varied food was attractively civilized until one patient shoved his tray with everything from soup to dessert, and it shot with a crash across the floor, requiring the poor soul to clean up the mess. The patients looked normal, but one could guess, often were not.
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