A few days before Halloween, my mom went in to the hospital for colon surgery. She had a colostomy. About a week later, she was discharged. The home health nurse came to her house the next day, to change her bag and do wound care. The nurse saw an open hole in mom's stomach, and you could see her bowels. She called the surgeon, who told my mom to go back to the ER ASAP. She did, and they did another surgery the next day to close the hole. Mom was doing fine. About a week later, my brother and I noticed that her speech was slow and slurred. The called me one day and told me mom was unresponsive, they are taking her to ICU. the put her on a vent. That same night, they found a hole in her gut that was leaking feces into her blood. A third surgery, and a blood transfusion. She was doing great after that. The Thursday before Thanksgiving, she was smiling, giving the nurses thumbs up signs, etc. Even the nurses told me how great she was doing. The next day, they tried to take her off the vent, and the doctor told me that her blood pressure dropped dangerously low. She did not wake up after that. A few weeks later, she was transferred to a specialty hospital here in Orlando. It seems as though this hospital has given up on her. They have not been trying to wean her off the vent. The past two weeks, she has been opening her eyes when she hears my voice. But they are telling me she is not making progress. Opening her eyes is not progress??? Now they are telling me since she is not making progress as fast as they would like, she has to leave the hospital. They told me she can either go to Hospice to die or come home to me. I told them she will come home with me. And by the way, they have done a CT Scan and EEG of her brain, and everything is fine: no bleeding, no sign of stroke, etc. I don't understand why they want me to send her to Hospice to die when she has normal brain activity. She is septic though, and are giving her antibiotics to fight that, but they are working slowly as well. I feel like this hospital just gave up on mom. the respiratory tech that trained me today told me that they are not aggressively trying to take mom off the vent, but everyone I ask doesn't know why. I am very frustrated.
My question: How can she be weaned from the vent at home? Will her home nurse do that or do I do that?
I am so scared. I had vent training today, and it is really scary knowing something bad could happen at home. I am praying mom will get better at home. Is there ANY possibility of a skilled nursing facility taking her? She has surgical wounds that are healing very slowly. I just don't know what to do.
Mom is 70, by the way. She turned 70 this month.
Dear Sir, Your mother is a candidate for skilled nursing care. She requires a skilled nursing facility that provides ventilator care. I operate Rock Island Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, a 177 bed skilled nursing facility located in rock Island Illinois. Our facility provides ventilator care, ventilator weaning, as well as advanced wound care. Skilled nursing facilities providing ventilator care are rare, your discharge planner may have not heard of us. If you are interterested in our services please discuss with your discharge planner at the LTAC your mom is in and give us a call at (309)788-0458 and visit our web site at www.rockislandhealthcare.com We would be happy to assist you and your mother. good luck to you
The situation you find yourself in with your mother is not that uncommon, and there is no easy answer. There are cases of patients being weaned after being at home for a period, though not in the home, but rather in a Long Term Hospital or a Skilled Nursing facility that provides weaning, but this is very rare. In the great majority once discharged on a vent there is no safe option to assist them off of it. I know of no organized means for medical personnel to provide ventilator weaning in the home. It is a serious responsibility to care for a loved at home on a vent, but very do-able with commitment. If you take her home and see significant improvement in her overall picture, more alert, and generally stronger then go to the doctors and see if there is a way to get her back in a hospital. While there weaning could be attempted.
As to what her current facility is doing for her, it is not possible to say based on the info given. I suggest do your best to learn what they have to teach on caring for your mother at home take her home, work to keep her healthy and healing and enjoy her as much as possible as she improves. Should she not, you will have done everything you could to support her recovery.
I pray this all works out for you. God bless.
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