My mom has not showered or washed her hair in over 2 months

Jun 9th, 2020

In March during an outing.

In June, the decline obvious.

Thank you for promoting positive change for seniors, their families and employees involved in the care of our precious family members.

I am been the primary caregiver for both my parents for over 30 years. My father had Parkinson’s and fought it for almost 20 yrs. We learned a lot about health and care during that time of his life. When he went into long term care, my mother and I looked after him every day to feed him, shave, do his teeth, take him out, change him, whatever was needed. I played and sang piano for him and the residents. We are a close family and sharing music has always brought us joy.

My mother continued living with me and I became her caregiver. Now at 92 she lives in long term care. I have a music business and I perform primarily for seniors in care. I am my mother’s advocate POA and essential partner in care. I want to continue providing her with positive loving care. She has complex health issues and pain. She cannot move unaided and cannot lie down. She has been left on the toilet for long lengths of time because they were short staffed or forgotten about her. However because she can speak on the phone, and cannot move by herself, whenever we cannot reach her we become concerned.

She spends 24/7 in a recliner chair in incontinence underwear. But she can use the phone and feed herself. Being a part of our family is what makes life worth living. She stays in her room but her health is declining. Her mental state and pain are worse. Trying to manage her care from outside is difficult and heartbreaking. She has not showered or washed her hair in over 2 months because she says it is too cold.

She has had no foot care which she requires to be able to stand. Her pain level is often high and she tells me she can’t stand it and that she is in misery. I have live chats with her once a week and I see her decline and I am beyond frustrated. Our entire family participates in her care and well being. All care homes are supported by volunteers and families. The situation of staff shortages and standards of care were in trouble before COVID. People need to understand basic care cannot be provided with less staff, accountability and reduced mental health.

My mother also has legal rights. Most residents in long term care cannot communicate outside of the home. We need to change the standards and have more personal support workers for residents, with full time employment and better wages. I do believe there are many caring nurses and staff, but shortages are causing harm combined with lack of vital volunteer family assistance. I am hoping families can be included as essential partners in care. We have to live with this virus and be creative in finding solutions to help our loved ones. Working together we will get better.

On June 9, I had a very upsetting live chat with my Mom. A staff member sets it up and then leaves the room. My mom was in a lot of pain so I spent the time trying to calm her. She was due her Morphine as an “as needed” medication at the discretion or time available by nurse between 12 – 2.

I called the nurse on another phone but was told she could not leave the dinning room as she was assisting other residents. My mother does not got to dining room as per her request. She has her meals in her room. However the program person who set our call up was also now engaged in the dining room, and not returning to end the video chat which went on for 2 hours. During this time I tried to call someone at the home to assist with my mother.

I eventually got the head nurse and had to insist she go to my mother. She was telling me the nurse on the floor would. Meanwhile we are still stuck on live video chat, and my mother is in pain. I took pictures of her as well. Her hair is now so long it is flattened. She has had no doctor to see her even though we have been in contact frequently regarding pain issues and care and decline.

She also requires foot care for ingrown toenail which stops her from being able to stand and walk. It is usually attended to monthly. None has been done even though I have requested repeatedly.

Her fingers are bloody from picking and anxiety. I took pictures while on Live chat as well.

I believe they are short staffed. This is resulting in severe lack of care. They have done just two dry hair washes for my mom in the last 3 months. The hair salon has a proper sink and is full of supplies since the hairdresser is not coming in to the facility. However at other homes with this same issue they are using their sinks for residents who have mobility issues like my mother. My mother needs 24 hour care and has complex health issues. I cannot care for her by myself. We need to improve so many things about care homes. I know my mom is in misery and needs more care than is being done.

I have contacted the Administration and asked to be considered as an essential partner in care. I have contacted the Administration to complain about my Mom’s pain management. I have requested a care conference with no date set. I have called the Minister of Health twice and not received a call back.

Bonnie W.