My dad and I went to see the Springfield Cardinals game last night. The Cardinals, the AA minor league team for the great St. Louis Cardinals franchise, didn’t disappoint in an 8-0 drubbing of the Amarillo Sod Poodles. (BTW…a “sod poodle” seems to be some sort of a nickname for a prairie dog). We were fortunate to be able to sit on the front row too, a rare treat for us. Other than losing a hat playing Frogger running across the street in a gale force wind, the night was excellent!
One of our favorite facets of taking in a ball game is keeping score. We keep score the “real way”, using symbols and shorthand such that, when the game is over you have a history of exactly what happened that you can relive at a later day. I have scorecards in my keepsakes box from the 1970s and 80s. Good times….
If you are new to the memory ward world, the nurses there keep score too. OK, they are supposed to keep score. They monitor every meal, basic things like sleep schedules, toilet stuff, bathing schedules, activities and the like. They should have a way of jumping through a series of HIPAA hoops for a medical power of attorney to be able to request this data on their loved one as well. This information may have varying levels of usefulness depending on the diligence of the staff and their honesty. An example: I have found out that the last 6 times mom has fallen she “slipped off her bed and was sitting on the ground”, with no harm done. The narrative sounds exactly the same. Did the event happen the same? Doubtful. Just stay on top of the documentation and verify its accuracy where you can, for the doctor’s sake if nothing else. They have busy jobs, but not too busy for my mom or the Sweet 17…
A second score-keeping of sorts is more of a big picture issue. In the real-life, live-or-die world of nursing homes, laws require some information be disclosed and other information be hidden. There is typically a major requirement, depending on your location: a book that should be readily available as you enter the main entrance of a nursing home that is a type of scorecard for the facility. It is surprising what all they are required to disclose in this book about the “warts-and-all” quality of the facility. This gives you a fairly understandable way to compare facilities by looking through their scores and citations.
The last bit of score keeping at the nursing home that comes to mind is record-keeping related. They must keep your loved one’s last directives DNR orders/living will/durable power of attorney etc…all readily available and they should have a shorthand way to show the nurses some of this info so they know without 5 minutes on the computer or sifting through files what happen when a person faces death without heroic measures. If your loved one opts to not be resuscitated in these tragically inevitable events, the nurse/doctor should know and obey the directive as written while helping with pain suppression. (Note: If you haven’t worked through setting this legal stuff up, you need to. Talk to a good elder law lawyer. Work through this stuff before it becomes too late to notate and honor your loved one’s requests. Like now….right after your cornbread, that is.)
Sigh…Life was easier when all of the score-keeping I worried about was whether to mark my sheet when the ball hits an umpire or a bird. I guess this stuff is all necessary, and used correctly, it is very helpful. I guess I just miss not needing so much “helpful” in life.