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Help MissK with HUMAN enrichment

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MissK
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Location: Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.

Help MissK with HUMAN enrichment

Post by MissK » Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:29 pm

Hi all. Today I'd like to hear from environmental enrichment fans, and creative and caring folks in general, for the purpose of helping my mother.

My mom is in the hospital. She had a heart attack and is unfortunate to be profoundly unwell. She's been cooped up in there for days, in control of nothing, not even her bodily functions. Because she is on restricted fluids, her mouth is dry and it's a little hard to understand her speech, which is also very quiet. I was shocked to see staff generally not bothering to try to understand what she said, and not really listening when they did hear. Lots of "OK...OK...Relax..." and patting. This is very frustrating, especially for independent folk like my mom. Simple requests, such as to be cleaned after incontinence, are slow (tonight it took two hours of repeated requests) to be filled.

My mom isn't able to eat much (chewing is too hard :o ), can't hold her telephone or a book to read, can't get any conversation from staff, can't get out of bed to walk, can't even get a sip of water. Sometimes it gets too much to bear, and she shakes and holds herself, fights her covers, clothing and equipment, says seemingly random things like "I'd like to go for a walk in the pond" (which means drown). The staff appears not to understand that she's having such a strong reaction (and sometimes think she's nuts) because they have missed all her solicitations for, you got it, COMMUNICATION & ENRICHMENT.

I'm not here for a pity party, but to ask for ideas of how to provide enrichment for my mom in this hospital setting. I have used conversation, accommodating requests, a little massage, reading out loud, and bringing in new flowers every day. Before they restricted her diet (upcoming surgery) I brought her chocolate. I asked about getting a walker and trying to walk with her, but reaction time seems to be glacial in slowness. The things I have done are not enough. I really need something that can happen when I am not there - gotta hold my job-- so her frustration does not build all day. As it is, her frustration is too great to be mitigated by four or five hours with me doing what I mentioned above.

Trainers, Super Trainers, Trainer Wannabees, Thinking and Compassionate People, please, please help me with ideas.
-MissK

SkyeBerry
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Re: Help MissK with HUMAN enrichment

Post by SkyeBerry » Tue Apr 15, 2014 12:49 am

MissK...I know you are not asking for sympathy but it is difficult to not say I am so sorry. My first thought - Music -do she have favourite CD's, can you put a compilation together on a MP3 player or something that she could easily learn if she is not techy. TV/Movies - is there one in her room obviously with a remote? If not, could one be arranged? Audio books - something she could listen to, a fictional story, a documentary, historical, something on hobby she likes? Librarians are usually happy to try and track down requests. Does your mom belong to the church, any groups or associations? Could you ask for volunteers to sit with her? Any hospital volunteers/candy stripers?

Does she like animals? Could a pet therapy dog/volunteer team be arranged to visit?

I did not read it all and it covers some of what I said but maybe this article will provide some ideas:
http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/wpres ... it-better/

Sorry that is all I can think of at the moment. Its late and need to get to bed. Will try and think of more and add.

Mary
Mary

MissK
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Re: Help MissK with HUMAN enrichment

Post by MissK » Tue Apr 15, 2014 6:19 am

Mary, thank you, and thank you for the link and ideas.
-MissK

SkyeBerry
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Re: Help MissK with HUMAN enrichment

Post by SkyeBerry » Wed Apr 16, 2014 4:13 pm

MissK - something for you:

http://robcares.com/2011/12/01/how-to-d ... ital-stays

For your mom:

You can also have some small talks with your nurse. In most hospitals, a specific nurse is assigned to a patient for a set amount of time. You can call him/her if you need something but you can also spend time with them especially if you're alone. Who knows? You may have found a new friend.
from - http://voices.yahoo.com/things-if-bored ... 49736.html

does your mom like to draw/paint/sculpt - if yes, maybe a sketch book with her preferred pen or pencil
origami book and paper
mensa type book - contain logic puzzles that are relatively easy at the start and get progressively harder
does she knit or crochet? cross stitch? rug hook?
would she be interested in writing or taping a story for her grandchildren if any?
writing to soldiers over seas?
bathrobe or bedjacket
balloons
does your mom enjoy fresh fruit - that could be a nice treat - a pomegranate would keep her busy for a while :wink:
does the hospital have wifi? If it does, and is available - does not interfere with her monitoring equipment etc - she would have access to email assuming she is techy
a tablet or something similar would allow access to news, all sorts of games, quizzes, Chess tutorials, bridge & chess sites where she could play a person & chat

does she have a window? Could her bed be moved towards it so she can see outside- hopefully there is a view - or a chair, at least - And, arrange to have someone help get to it and back to bed at least once a day?
Mary

Little Buttercup
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Re: Help MissK with HUMAN enrichment

Post by Little Buttercup » Thu Apr 17, 2014 7:36 am

So sorry MissK, hard not to show sympathy! But What else can I offer. Skye offered quite a bit, but I see you say Mom can't hold a phone or book even to read. So some of the things suggested won't be of use to her. Best I feel would be if you can find someone willing to spend some time with your mom. And listening to the radio would be entertaining, unless she is tired of it.

Let us know what you found useful. Wishing her a full recovery.

Ash

MissK
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Re: Help MissK with HUMAN enrichment

Post by MissK » Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:37 pm

Thanks Ash,

Fortunately, my mom has moved to a better hospital! The best I could do was line up two special friends to come and visit with her, and reduce my own schedule at work by a few hours a day in order to be there more. I asked for physical therapy to come and walk with her, and they tried but she was not ready for this physically. They did sit her in a chair for a while. I also put some notes about her on the white board in her room so staff may be able to see her as a person. I made sure to include that she's a retired R.N.! If that doesn't soften some hearts, I don't know what will. I try to leave when she has gone to sleep and I write her a note to find when she wakes up. I got her a clock with military time so she can maybe orient herself better. I asked, but the staff will not allow her Canary to visit her.

My mom made some great progress in the last 24-36 hours. She moved around in bed and got her feet (somewhat unsafely) off the bed and hauled herself up to a mostly sitting position. She cheated at this since the bed is angled up at the pillow, but no foul there! Soon she will try to get out of bed and I hope she doesn't fall on the floor when she's alone. She seems to fall asleep for brief moments right in the middle of things. They did put a bed alarm on her. I didn't see her read but I bet she can do it now. I'm planning an Easter Basket with magazines & candy and our traditional family Easter cake. I'm still not sure about her eating by herself, but can ask the staff to put it out of reach when they are not there. I bought her Sunflowers. I will be going to the craft store to get their advice on a craft that she could manage that would also not insult her intelligence.

Last, I reminded her that my pocket phone is always in my pocket and the nurse can help her call. It has been about 9 days since her heart attack. If I had not followed my gut and checked on her when I did, I think she would be dead by now.
-MissK

AJPeter
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Re: Help MissK with HUMAN enrichment

Post by AJPeter » Fri Apr 18, 2014 2:28 pm

It is at time like these MissK when you will find an inner reserve of energy to cope. People have suggested what l would say and that is a sketch pad, we have a charity over here for disabled people to paint Christmas cards which are then sold it is called Mouth and Foot Paineters l will look for the link and sent it to you pronto.

Your Mom will find it strange at first and will easily get bored as nothing seems to get done but as the days stretch out so she will adapt to the hospital clock ie when things get done, meals doctor's rounds, physiotherapy, relaxing, she will miss her canary most see if you can get audio devices with canary sounds, and head phones so she can listen whenever she wants. Worry free rest is the best medicine, and she will sleep a lot a the body repairs its self, it is only natural for her to make bigger efforts to get out of bed but if she falls over the nursing staff might strap her in.

Those nurses sound just like out National Health Service. best wishes to your family at this time,

http://www.dialdoncaster.co.uk/useful-c ... ng-artists

Peter

MissK
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Re: Help MissK with HUMAN enrichment

Post by MissK » Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:36 pm

Peter, thank you so much. I knew I could count on my resourceful friends here for help!

Today she ate her toast and tea by herself, and is making short trips from the bed with lots of assistance. She sat in a chair as well. Because she has demonstrated a little return of upper body strength, I bought her a lot of little things for her Easter basket- word search/puzzle magazines, domestic magazines, a thin book on unusual animal facts, a big and a little sketchbook, markers, pens, and automatic colour pencils, playing cards, and easy puzzle (48 pieces), a magnifying glass she wanted, and a ducky nail brush. And York Peppermint Patties (low salt, low fat!)

In the morning I will be making her breakfast :o :o :o , low fat cheese, no yolk, spinach & mushroom mini-quiches with avocado slices. Is that a breakfast? I'm not a normal cook..... Hope I don't screw it up! She'll be having lamb and asparagus with her cake for Easter lunch.

Lastly, she asked for normal nightgowns because the hospital gowns are rough. I bought her some lovely things I hope my brother will help me pay for!

I had a hard time thinking up a craft she could enjoy, something without threads to tangle or pieces to drop or liquids to spill. If only she would enjoy a Rubick's Cube, but she won't! :lol:
-MissK

Little Buttercup
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Re: Help MissK with HUMAN enrichment

Post by Little Buttercup » Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:19 pm

Good to hear things are getting better! You got some nice things for the Easter basket. If she can hold a phone or a pen then she will be able to do much to keep herself busy. Maybe you can get a book holder to put the magazine in while reading, then she don't get tired of holding it.

Ash

SkyeBerry
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Re: Help MissK with HUMAN enrichment

Post by SkyeBerry » Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:57 pm

Ash - that is a good idea about the magazine holder.

MissK - glad to hear your mother is improving. I guess I got a little carried away with my list but once I got started...and we must always be optimistic. I think the attitude people have around those that are ill - animals included - makes a huge difference for recovery. That was a smart idea regarding the message board and also letting them know she was an RN.

Your breakfast quiche sounds yummy! Please continue to let us know how both you and your mom are doing. Remember to take care of yourself, too!

Best wishes...Mary
Mary

MissK
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Re: Help MissK with HUMAN enrichment

Post by MissK » Sat Apr 19, 2014 10:23 am

Hi Support Grou--, I mean Ringneck Forum Friends,

Today was a hard day. She cried. You know how hard it is to see your sick, old mother cry?

I brought her the miniquiches which she said were lovely, though she could only eat one. She liked the nightgown but didn't have energy to put it on. Ash, your magazine rack idea is fantastic. Thank you.

Tomorrow she gets her Easter basket, Easter brunch, and my CD player with what she said was her favourite Easter music - Handel's Messiah. I also placed a call to her old minister and asked him to call her. She's upset about missing Easter in church. I'm trying to line up a pedicure. My brother agreed to go halfsies on the gift. When I left I put her on the phone with one of her old lady friends she's known before I was born.
-MissK

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Re: Help MissK with HUMAN enrichment

Post by AJPeter » Sat Apr 19, 2014 1:51 pm

Those dark days of first admission are gone and your Mom is settling in, she wont want to leave soon, but to be honest if l was in hospital and some body offered me mini quiches low fat cheese, no yolk, spinach and mushroom l would discharge myself pronto no wonder she only ate one! Please forgive my sarcsm!
As we get older we realize that day when the reaper comes is getting nearer, l shall be 75 next month and l keep telling my friends l do not want to linger but when l think about it l have been ligering the past 50 years, l cannot make up my mind which is worse a stroke or a heart attack, and if l have one l will probalby wish l had the other, l do know God has a sense of humour and we do not know what He has in store for us, so l shall have to wait and see but when it does happen l hope l will be able to see the joke!

SkyeBerry
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Re: Help MissK with HUMAN enrichment

Post by SkyeBerry » Mon Apr 21, 2014 1:35 am

MissK...again I am so sorry. When I was unwell, and I had a particularly hard day, I saw my mom cry. It is the only time I have seen her cry. And it still brings tears to me eyes. So I do sympathize.

I can't believe I did not think of a pedicure. Is there a 'smilie' emoticon slapping his head? That would be me - her - she. :lol: My mom was also an RN. She used to say when she retired she would start a mobile foot care company that assisted the elderly and the sick. That foot care is often neglected even though everyone seems to feel better once their feet are properly taken care of. No, she did not start the company. She does knit, crochet, and sew items and she also helps run a gift store in a small seasonal resort town. That is after several years of volunteer work. I am glad she is finally taking a real break and enjoying life! Has your mom found the ability to relax and enjoy? I hope so! I think RNs, in addition to other professions, can have a hard time not taking care of others.

Would you be interested in taping something for your mother - I mean your thoughts - about nothing - the day - does she like hearing about your birds? If your bird talks, add that if it makes her smile. I know one day, I sent my mom a 'Just because card.' It was a blanc card with a picture on the front. I saw it and I thought she would like it. We are not a 'mushy' family. And we do not give each other overly sentimental cards. This card I started by saying "I am sending you this card just because...." I do not remember exactly what it was I said but it was personal and caring and at some points said not much at all. It was short. But my mom was extremely touched and I know it is one of her favourites. Maybe it would help both you and your mom?
Mary

MissK
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Re: Help MissK with HUMAN enrichment

Post by MissK » Mon Apr 21, 2014 6:59 am

I'm working on the nurses to agree with a Canary visit in the family lounge area, once my mom is mobile enough to get there. She could get there now in a wheelchair, if they would go along with it, but I would need help. My own sense of responsibility will not allow me to leave the bird unattended in the lounge while I go to fetch my mom. Anything could happen!

I have been writing her notes and making sure to sign them "XX OO (heart) (heart) I LOVE YOU!!!!" Every other one also says I'm proud of her. Didn't want to overdo that and make it sound like I was evaluating her. We both hate that.

Today I have to take some time to recharge myself and pick up the explosion that is my kitchen the day after Easter. I have some magazines and an animal facts book I missed taking in yesterday, so she'll get them later today. I also took her a nice fabric covered box she can use like a suitcase so her things are not scattered around and I think she liked that.
-MissK

SkyeBerry
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Re: Help MissK with HUMAN enrichment

Post by SkyeBerry » Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:59 am

Oh yes, do not leave the canary unattended! Any chance your brother could participate?

When I started reading about the notes, I thought you meant you were writing them from the canary and the XX was going to be the signature. :lol:

The box was another great idea!
Mary

MissK
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Re: Help MissK with HUMAN enrichment

Post by MissK » Tue Apr 22, 2014 7:14 am

Actually, all the other kids live in other states or at least hours away. Nobody has been to see my mom but me. At least some of them call her.

I found something at the thrift store to hold her book. I'm not sure if it is a mail sorter or a CD rack or what, but it was $1.99 and it passed the book holding test. :) With a bit of stiff cardboard it will hold a magazine too.
-MissK

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Re: Help MissK with HUMAN enrichment

Post by AJPeter » Tue Apr 22, 2014 2:01 pm

Have you got a discharge date yet?

MissK
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Re: Help MissK with HUMAN enrichment

Post by MissK » Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:18 pm

Here's an update, summary, and recap on my mom and her enrichment. :P See the smiley face indicates good news coming!

My mom has made some great progress. She can eat independently as long as she doesn't have to chew too hard. She can sit up in the chair and manipulate things on the table if they are not too heavy. She can move all her body parts as she intends to do. Her mobility is severely limited, but she can use the potty chair. I bet she would be SO PLEASED to know I told that to the world. (Not!) But the good news is that now she would be able to mount a good, strong, healthy objection. She can use the phone and look all around her room. She can read her book and magazines. She was able this very day to hold a small note pad in the air and write a few words on it. It has been two weeks since her heart attack.

The Enrichment ~

Interaction: Since she has been at the better hospital the staff is much more attentive and responsive. I wrote some facts on the wall to help the staff interact, such as she doesn't want the sheet tucked in, she hates the blood pressure cuff, she likes bright light, is a retired R.N., etc. Staff actually read this and incorporated the information as needed. I called her friends and family to let them know how to get in touch with her. I asked them to call and visit, though I'm not sure if they have. I contacted her favourite minister and asked him to call - he did, and it meant so much to her. I asked specific members of the staff to check on her or assist her in specific ways when I was not there. I charged her cell phone, added minutes on it, and made sure the ringer was set on high volume. She has it tucked in the sling that holds one of her pieces of medical equipment close to her body. I give her little massages as she wants. It seems so simple, but I also hold her hand, especially when the nurses are fussing with something. I really think it helps. I also phone her from home before I visit and from work after I visit. Sometimes she answers, sometimes not.

Food: I cooked familiar foods for her and brought them hot to her bed. I fed her when she needed me to. I placed hospital food orders for her to make sure she would be eating when I did not cook. I brought her fresh fruit for snacks. I left home cooked food in the fridge for staff to bring to her when I was not there, and labeled it well. I brought her a traditional Easter dinner, hot with real plates and good silver, on that holiday AND I called to ask her how she wanted it cooked. I brought her chocolate. Also, I eat *with* her, even if I bring my own, different food.

Visual Stimulation: I brought lots of fresh flowers, including bright and large ones she could see across the room (hello Sunflowers and Gerber Daisies!) and more familiar flowers that she enjoys at home, such as are currently blooming. I made every effort to present the flowers in the nicest way, with ribbons, assorted pretty containers. Today's was a variety of sweet, delicate wildflowers presented in blue and white china jam pots on a matching tray, including some with a strong scent. She was delighted. I place the flowers high and low all around the room. I also bought large fabric pinwheel flowers and mounted them on the wall. *IF* I could figure out how to get something on the ceiling above the bed I would do that. Maybe I'll get it tomorrow.

Activities: Understanding that some items I brought may be still out of reach, I brought big print word puzzle books, easy to read magazines, a thin book of animal facts, familiar novels, her Bible. I supplied pens, pencils, markers and a small drawing pad and a writing pad. She got a magnifying glass and nail care items (requested), playing cards, an easy 48 piece puzzle. I also wrote out on paper the phone numbers she would be most likely to want. I provided a book stand to assist her reading.

Audio: I brought my Radio/CD player with the requested music- Handel's Messiah- and tuned it also to her station. I asked the nicest technician to help her run the machine.

Extras: If she sleeps while I am leaving, I write her a note for when she wakes up. I brought her beautiful new nightgowns and a robe - not the every day stuff, extra nice, - and a large cloth covered box to use as a suitcase. I brought a great Easter Basket on Easter. Once when she was sick in the past I gave her a stuffed grey Schnauzer. Now I gave her a white one so she will have a friend to hug in bed. I dropped the ball getting a pedicure and may have to do it for her myself. She gets at least two hugs per visit. I tell her that I love her and that I'm proud of her. If she had a hard time of something I acknowledge that it was hard and that she stuck with it.

SO, that's my summary, including the ceiling decoration and the pedicure I'm still working on. In truth, much of it is dependent on her having some basic physical function, so I am very glad she has it now. There is talk of discharging her to a rehab facility by the end of the week. That will bring a new set of challenges, as the rooms are smaller and shared. However, they will get her into a wheelchair and moving around, which should be great so long as they don't just park her someplace. As her functions (we hope) continue to improve in rehab I plan to commission her to make something for my friend's coming baby. :D

Thanks to everyone for the continued support and the really great ideas.
-MissK

SkyeBerry
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Re: Help MissK with HUMAN enrichment

Post by SkyeBerry » Wed Apr 23, 2014 12:46 am

MissK - a hug for you. I am really proud of both you and your mom. :D You have done a wonderful job. Can I hire you if I am ever in the hospital?
Mary

MissK
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Re: Help MissK with HUMAN enrichment

Post by MissK » Wed Apr 23, 2014 1:16 pm

Thanks. I am wondering if there is any market for hiring someone to provide enrichment for loved ones in the hospital. I confess I am not satisfied with my efforts, but I do think they have helped.

Today, in a way, enrichment gone wrong. Or maybe right. My mom's tripping on some of her meds, having hallucinations. One hallucination is of fields of blue and pink flowers floating in front of her. On the one hand, they are closing in on her, but on the other hand, flowers are a pretty benign, as hallucinations could go. I think they are coming from the pink and blue pinwheel flowers I put on the wall.
-MissK

SkyeBerry
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Re: Help MissK with HUMAN enrichment

Post by SkyeBerry » Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:44 pm

Unfortunately, I have a feeling that a lot of people are as aware of/or interested in human enrichment as the average bird owner is. :( You really have done a wonderful job.

Ummm...not sure we are supposed to consider pharmaceuticals as enriching our lives. :wink: What are you doing in your spare time? :lol:
Mary

MissK
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Re: Help MissK with HUMAN enrichment

Post by MissK » Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:41 pm

What is "spare time"?
-MissK

SkyeBerry
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Re: Help MissK with HUMAN enrichment

Post by SkyeBerry » Thu Apr 24, 2014 2:41 am

:lol: :lol: :lol: Touche!
Mary

MissK
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Re: Help MissK with HUMAN enrichment

Post by MissK » Sun Jun 08, 2014 10:26 am

A quick update and a big thank you to the friends who contributed, suggested, listened, supported, and generally helped me with my "mom situation" --

After the hospital my mom went to a nursing facility for rehab. I brought in a lot of things to brighten her room and creature comforts as she became able to make use of them. There was talk of gardening and quilting at the facility, but nothing much happened. Still, she has made some plans for the baby quilt she wants to do, and I brought her in the things she'll need to get started.

There were some complications, but as of now they have stopped giving treatments and she is now simply working on regaining mobility so she can try to go HOME. This change in approach had a truly dramatic effect. Her depression seems to be gone, save the now and then tiredness of being away from home. Her innate stubbornness, ah, I mean DETERMINATION has returned, and it is so good to see. A week ago I watched her meet and then exceed her walking goal during the therapy session. It was so hard for her and she was so determined, after she had gone the extra four feet, she sat down in the wheelchair and cried. But she did it, and it was her choice, and her reward. I was very proud of her and yes, I told her so.

Thanks again, friends!
-MissK

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Re: Help MissK with HUMAN enrichment

Post by AJPeter » Sun Jun 08, 2014 1:39 pm

I am a bit worried MissK about this human enrichemnt, do you have a large garden? Or field? I do not think they would allow me on public transport with a wheel barrow full of human enrichment.

Glad your Mum is better,

MissK
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Re: Help MissK with HUMAN enrichment

Post by MissK » Sun Jun 08, 2014 8:23 pm

AJ, I think you should be enriching your own home. We're too far away for your wheel barrow.
-MissK

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Re: Help Peter with parrot enrichment

Post by AJPeter » Mon Jun 09, 2014 11:44 am

My home does not need human enrichment Billie sees to that, every night l tear my hair out, there is parrot pooh everywhere, debris, food, seeds, crusts, pomegranite spaltter on the walls.

I used to have a problem with marmalade, it is very sticky and l am bound to get some in my hair, on my shirt, up my nose, in my chair, on my shoes. I have the same problem with parrot pooh.

By the way MissK were you going to post a picture of the plastic sheet you put behind your cage?

MissK
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Re: Help MissK with HUMAN enrichment

Post by MissK » Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:27 pm

You'll find it in my photo thread. viewtopic.php?f=5&t=18437
-MissK

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Re: Help MissK with HUMAN enrichment

Post by AJPeter » Mon Jun 09, 2014 3:05 pm

Thanks MissK now where can l find some plexiglass. Skips could be a good soure.

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