Sierra Cook works in the local hospital system as a discharge planner. She’s working on a discharge plan for a man named Henry Dawes. Henry is 72 and came to the hospital after falling off his treadmill. He tried to catch himself on the way down, but he wound up hitting his head on the handrail. He broke
his right wrist, sprained his left, and fractured several fingers on his left hand. He was also diagnosed with a concussion and has bruises all over his face.
Henry’s doctor is hopeful that he’ll make a full recovery, but the timeline is uncertain. No one saw Henry fall, so the severity of the head trauma is unknown. With his concussion symptoms and both of his hands and wrists immobilized, Henry will likely need help for months.
Sierra creates a detailed plan of care for Henry. She lists which activities he should avoid and for how long. She also writes up recommendations for monitoring his concussion symptoms and lists criteria for bringing him back to the hospital.
Sierra’s phone is ringing off the hook less than 48 hours after Henry goes home. The family is facing a serious problem: Henry himself.
Henry prides himself on being active and taking care of himself, and he is deeply resentful of this sudden loss of independence. He is irritable, belligerent, and downright mean when anyone tries to remind him that he’s supposed to be taking it easy. He’s constantly trying to get up and do things he’s not supposed to be doing and doesn’t seem to understand why he needs to rest.
The family is running into hygiene issues as well. With his hands bound up, Henry can barely use the bathroom by himself, and he definitely can’t shower. But he refuses to let his three grown daughters help him bathe because he doesn’t want them to see him naked. He won’t let his sons-in-law help either because they’re “not family.”
The family is totally overwhelmed. They have no idea how to manage Henry. And since he can’t cook for himself, they’re struggling to coordinate mealtimes, especially when his surly attitude makes him so unpleasant to be around. All three of his daughters are worried that they’re failing to execute the plan of care Sierra created, and they don’t know what to do.
Sierra doesn’t know what to do either. She’s anxious about a concussion patient refusing to rest and recover. She tries to recommend a home health aide, but Henry’s daughters worry that he’ll fight that person, too. His eldest daughter also mentions that a nurse won’t solve the problem of keeping Henry fed.
Sierra remembers an email she received a while back from a company called CARESULTANTS that handles complex elder care cases on behalf of families. She finds the email and sets up a call with a CARESULTANT representative for later that day.
Sierra explains the situation to the nurse on the phone and is immediately impressed with the detailed questions asked. She can tell that the CARESULTANT is well versed in concussion care and knows what Henry needs. The CARESULTANT assures her that he can find a solution to Henry’s mealtimes as well. She shares his contact information with Henry’s eldest daughter and hopes for the best.
Sierra follows up with Henry’s daughters a week later and finds that the family’s situation has change entirely.
Thanks to CARESULTANTS, Henry is now under the daily care of Andre, a former U.S. Navy nurse. Andre is very funny and does not put up with Henry’s mulish behavior. He knows exactly when and how to crack a joke to make Henry more comfortable, and they quickly build up a rapport. And because Andre is male, Henry is less resistant to his help in more vulnerable situations.
CARESULTANTS also hired Annabel, a local chef who does meal prep for athletes. Like Andre, she quickly figures out that Henry responds well to tactful teasing, and they banter every time she stops by. Henry also seems to like the fact that Annabel works with active clients. He’s much more amenable to eating meals that he thinks will get him back to his former activity levels faster.
Meanwhile, Henry’s daughters are free to support their dad in other ways. They still come by to do laundry, clean and keep Henry company. They can tell he’s still experiencing some grief over what happened to him, but his attitude is markedly better. Both Andre and Annabel assure them that he seems better every day, and they’ve both heard him say that he feels hopeful about his future.
Henry’s eldest daughter tells Sierra that working with CARESULTANTS has made her less fearful of the future. “With the way Dad was behaving those first few days, I was honestly having nightmares about what he was going to be like when he got really old,” she says. “I kept thinking, ‘Is this what we’ll be dealing with in ten or fifteen years?’ But I’m less worried about it now because I know we can call these guys. Once Dad recovers from his concussion, we probably won’t need CARESULTANTS at all for a few years, but it’s sure nice to know they’re there.”
Sierra is thrilled—as is Henry’s doctor. His most recent follow-up appointment went very well, and Henry is officially expected to make a full recovery. He is getting the care he needs, and Sierra is no longer getting multiple calls a day from his daughters.
Sierra asks her new friend at CARESULTANTS to send her a few company brochures, and she starts giving them to families on a regular basis..
For families, CARESULTANTS provides structure, clarity, and peace of mind.
For Discharge Planners, CARESULTANTS is the solution many of their clients are looking for. If you’re curious about CARESULTANTS and the possibility of referring your clients to us, schedule a brief call to learn more.