Friday, April 12, 2013

Care facility: room service dinning

Whether a push and roll or simply running errands precedes dinner at Patti’s care facility – MS Fatigue rears its head and she beings to verbalize “I just want to go to bed” through “Can’t I just go to bed” with frustrated inflection.

Her facility dining room does IMHO an excellent job. However it takes time beginning at 5 PM to transport residents down from their rooms until the actual food arrives until 5:30 PM or a bit later. Then of course everyone needs to be fed which unquestionably takes longer than just a bunch of people chowing down. It’s about finding a balance between safety and nutrition.

It’s also can get a bit boring, IMHO. I understand it has to be ‘mellow’ because distractions impair those with feeding and swallowing challenges including Patti’s MS dysphagia.

When visiting I am the wild card. I can stay and help her with dinner in the dining room, which as her advocate I frequently do to inspect how and what they feed Patti, or I show off my old restaurant ‘five finger’ tray caring skills and bring Patti’s dinner to her room.

‘Room service’ as we jokingly call it is a special treat for Patti. First it’s immediate and all about her, unlike the residential dining room. Whether I just use the care facility meal (which actually are quite good – better than I eat most nights) or pick her up commercial carry out. She is one happy camper having dinner with the Simpsons.
Best of all for Patti she gets to go right to bed like having her own waiter and personal attendant. No waiting for aides with a hoyer lift.

I help her brush her teeth prepare her for bed and using the 'one-person transfer technique, the hug' I move her from her wheelchair to bed.

A happy Patti is already in bed, lights off and sleep machine playing softly under her pillow approximately 30 – 45 minutes before aides with a hoyer lift could accomplish the same task.

Saying good night to Patti I sometimes am reminded of a day she gave a tour of her care facility to some visiting friends from our old neighborhood, “It’s like being rich and having MS just like Annette Funicello”

Patrick Leer
Health Activist:
Caregivingly Yours, MS Caregiver @

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