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Options for having disabled MIL visit on Xmas day

(31 Posts)
Honeycrumb Mon 10-Nov-14 13:31:18

My MIL moved into a care home after a stroke earlier this year. In the home, she has two carers assist her to get dressed and go to the toilet using a hoist. They use a hoist to transfer her between her wheelchair, seating and bed.

We live 50 miles away from her care home and she wants to spend Christmas day with us. I can understand this completely; it seems so grim the thought of spending xmas in the care home. We are due to spend Boxing day at a restaurant near her care home with other family members -- but she still wants to see us on Christmas day.

I wondered whether other people have been in a similar situation and how they managed it?

I have looked into hiring a wheelchair accessible car to get her to us. But then there's still the issue of needing to go to the toilet. So, I figured that I might be able to borrow a commode and hoist from the home but would my husband & I manage to help her alone? Just not sure if that's sensible. So I looked at hiring a carer for the day to assist us. So far, costs for car hire and carer (minimum of 8 hours) would result in spending £300-£400! She could cover this cost but is (understandably) worried about spending this on one day and suggested that my husband and I could get her in and out of her wheelchair and into our regular car. I've said that I'd be worried about seating her in the car with out the wheelchair as she can't support one side of her body -- one side is pretty much paralysed and even in the wheelchair, it's hard to keep her upright. Aside from which -- I'm not sure if I would be endangering her life by doing this and whether there are laws that cover this!

My husband and I are pretty 'can do' people and relatively physically strong — I just don't want to be reckless! Would love to know if anyone has any experience of managing a similar situation and what's reasonable for us to do? I know we live in a health & safety culture and sometimes common sense goes out the window — but equally, I don't know whether what my MIL is suggesting is reasonable or not.

Sadly, my MIL can sometimes mistake our genuine concerns for us being unwilling. As a side issue -- but immensely irritating -- her own daughters have a "don't be so stupid" attitude to her requests to engage in family occasions (they said this to her when she wanted to attend a wedding in the summer). There is no expectation on them to have her at Xmas or overnight ever! Since my FIL died, she's always stayed with us at various times and at Xmas.

ExitPursuedByABear Mon 10-Nov-14 13:36:34

I really think this would be a step too far. My dad is housebound and despite our numerous offers to get him to our house he always refuses.

It seems very expensive for one day. But I am sure someone with more knowledge will be along.

TheSpottedZebra Mon 10-Nov-14 13:38:01

Could you do a quick course in safe lifting? No idea if such things exist, but you never know...!

Thinking laterally, what about all having Xmas lunch somewhere wheelchair accessible, eg Premier Inn type places that have good facilities?

Or hiring hotel room only, as opposed to the function rooms, and creating a sort of alternative Xmas dinner - cold turkey and stuffing sandwiches, lots of cake and chocolate, as opposed to the full roast, and having that on Boxing Day?

It's just hard, isn't it? My dad's health is in rapid decline but luckily his needs arent as great as your mil and he and my mum live in a big adapted house that we can all visit.

MicronesiaIsMyHome Mon 10-Nov-14 13:45:21

Can you book a wheelchair accessible taxi to bring your mil to you and take her home later? Does she have a catheter or use incontinence pads of some kind? Could she use them for that day?
Just some ideas but it is a difficult situation for you all.

Inthedarkaboutfashion Mon 10-Nov-14 13:45:29

My grandmother uses a wheelchair and is paralysed down one side due to a stroke. Her daughters manage to take her out in their normal cars on a regular basis. She usually needs somebody sitting in the back with her to make sure her body is supported adequately. You could also look into borrowing a special vehicle harness which will help ensure her posture is okay whilst in the vehicle.
WRT the commode issue: a charity shop nearby where I live sells commodes and other disability equipment at very cheap prices, could you check your local charity shops as it might be worth having a set and keeping them in the garage for future visits.
Unless your MIL is very heavy you should be able to manage her with your husband to help. Hoists are useful when people are lifting on a daily basis. It might be easier if you get a handling belt, the care home will probably have these and might lend you one but they only cost around £30 anyway.

ipswichwitch Mon 10-Nov-14 13:53:00

It's very difficult. You have to consider not only her safety but yours - it's no mean feat transferring someone yourself without hoists etc, and there's a very good reason why it's not allowed in healthcare environments anymore.

You have her safety to consider too. If you try to manoeuvre her in and out of the car without correct equipment/ technique you could risk her having a fall. Similarly with the toilet. Does your bathroom have room for a hoist? Would the care home even be willing to let you borrow one - they will only have so many available and their residents will take priority.

Getting her in and out of the car will be extremely difficult without proper hoists especially since she can't support one side of her body. My gran had serious difficulty with it and she could stand and support her own weight for a short time. You have to remember that you can only support her on one side to get her out, unless you plan to sit in the drivers seat and push her out, which if obviously not a good idea whatsoever.

I don't want to say no, but it really will take a lot of serious thought, and I would strongly recommend she pay for the car and carer if she really wants to do this, because I don't think you will be able to manage safely without.

Coffeeinapapercup Mon 10-Nov-14 14:04:04

Have you had a chat with her carers and her care home? They are the ones best able to help you work out whether you can meet her needs and how.

Inthedarkaboutfashion Mon 10-Nov-14 14:05:15

Swivel seat pads make getting in and out of the car much easier for people with paralysis on one side.

Honeycrumb Mon 10-Nov-14 14:17:36

Thanks everyone so far, I'm taking in all the responses and ideas with interest.

Micronesia she does use incontinence pads, no catheter. The pads are used by the care staff in case she has an accident, they take her to the toilet regularly.

Coffeeinapapercup I have tried to speaking to care staff before but answers always differ, depending on who we speak to. I haven't discussed this with them yet as it only came up yesterday. My MIL has mentioned it to them and they just suggested us coming to the care home to her.

CheeseandGherkins Mon 10-Nov-14 14:28:15

I'd speak to the Red cross as they hire or lend mobility aids. You can also hire or buy a mobile hoist if you need one. I would be making sure that she could spend Christmas day with you if that's what she wanted and I speak from someone who has experience of disability. It's just one day and there is plenty of time to put measures into place or hire/loan aids.

FannyFifer Mon 10-Nov-14 14:28:30

Few questions, can she weight bear
at all?
Can she transfer at all without a hoist?
How heavy is she?
How accessible is your house, toilet etc.
Does she need assistance eating and drinking, thickened fluids, soft diet etc?

Is she relatively well apart from stroke symptoms?

The nursing home will not let you borrow a hoist though you would not be insured or trained to use it.

There are companies you can hire equipment from.

Honeycrumb Mon 10-Nov-14 14:28:47

Micronesia she does use wheelchair accessible taxis for local travel but the drivers vary -- some are very nice and occasionally she's had less than caring one's. Since the stroke, she's quite fearful of her safety and sensitive to touch. I'd be worried about her travelling for an hour with a taxi driver, who may or may not be nice or drive like a maniac.

I'm going to discuss all your suggestions and concerns with my husband and see what he thinks. Lifting her in and out of the car or commode I can see would be very difficult — and potentially dangerous to her and us.

I wish we could beam her to us and back again when needed!

FannyFifer Mon 10-Nov-14 14:30:09

Sorry I'm a nurse & work in complex care in the community so used to a challenge. grin

Honeycrumb Mon 10-Nov-14 14:33:06

^Few questions, can she weight bear
at all?^
Very little, using her right side.

Can she transfer at all without a hoist?

How heavy is she?
About 9 stone.

How accessible is your house, toilet etc.
Downstairs toilet but not big enough for a hoist. We know we can get her in and out of the downstairs rooms.

Does she need assistance eating and drinking, thickened fluids, soft diet etc?

Is she relatively well apart from stroke symptoms?
Yes, relatively. Slight confusion occasionally but it usually passes.

ipswichwitch Mon 10-Nov-14 14:39:31

Since the stroke, she's quite fearful of her safety and sensitive to touch

This will make lifting and handling more complex. The bonus with a hoist is that she may well feel safer being transferred, and be less anxious about falling than when other people are trying to lift her. Transferring someone frightened of falling is difficult as sometimes they can grab at you if they think they're going to fall, which will pull you off balance and can make the process unsafe.

I think if you are going to attempt to collect her in your car you need to give it a try first, with carers from her home to help advise on technique. Failing that, maybe have a word with the taxi company about her needs - see if there's a regular driver that may take more care with her.

FannyFifer Mon 10-Nov-14 14:50:15

Any idea if they always use a full hoist & sling or can they use a stand aid with her?

I've helped relatives at home with no proper equipment in one off situations, obviously at work I use appropriate equipment at all times etc.

If she could stand with support of one person in front then person behind sorts clothes & puts commode under would that work?

Or wheelchair to side of toilet then take side off it to slide mil across to loo?

You can buy transfer boards, turning circles, transfer belts all pretty cheaply.

FannyFifer Mon 10-Nov-14 14:52:29

Also didn't see she is quite sensitive to touch, agree that would make things more difficult, if she was confident and game for trying stuff then it would be simpler.

If she panicked she could hurt you or herself.

vdbfamily Mon 10-Nov-14 15:07:20

there is a piece of equipment called a rotastand which is less bulky than a hoist and alot of people can manage it,especially if there are 2 of you to assist.

Most equipment companies have reps who are happy to try equipmet out with patients to see if they are suitable. Was a decision made by an occupational therapist that your mother needed hoisting or was it the care home who decided they could no longer lift her? Has she ever tried a transfer board with assistance of 2?
If you had a wheeled commode you could transfer her onto it somewhere spacious and then if you remove the commode pan,the commode usually pushes over the toilet, depending on how high the toilet is and how narrow the downstairs toilet area is!
What a difficult decision for you all.Hope you find a workable solution.

Honeycrumb Mon 10-Nov-14 17:11:15

fannyfifer ipswichwitch and vdbfamily

Thanks for the helpful suggestions / tips. I haven't seen my MIL stand since she had the stroke. The physio's reported that she could stand very briefly if supported. One side of her body is almost a dead weight.

She was assessed at hospital and at the care home by an OT and is required to need a hoist -- I've seen the sling, she says they use it but not sure if they use it all the time.

I think trialling things at the care home is a good idea but I'm pretty sure they won't support us to do anything that doesn't meet their health & safety policy. I will speak to them though and see what they think.

Honeycrumb Mon 10-Nov-14 17:16:31

ps Our toilet isn't wide enough to put a wheelchair next to it for transferring. If we get her to our house, I had resigned myself to the idea that we would have the commode in a private room with enough space for manoeuvres!

Yes, CheeseandGherkins we do have a bit of time before xmas to explore options and sort things out. Gonna do my best to get her to us!

I love mumsnet for the all the people that take the time share their ideas and thoughts, so glad I posted this, lots to ponder.

Inthedarkaboutfashion Mon 10-Nov-14 19:03:39

I think it will be worth the effort if you manage it because Christmas is a real family time and your MIL will appreciate it.

FannyFifer Mon 10-Nov-14 20:28:39

Definitely check if she can stand even for a sec, if you happened to be near me (Fife) I could show you a few easy transfers, moving & handling stuff, easier in person.

drudgetrudy Tue 11-Nov-14 11:11:17

If she really wants to do this and has the money I would let her pay for the maximum amount of help. I would also check with a senior member of staff in the nursing home whether they consider this to be safe.
My Mum is in a similar situation-can't weight bear at all and we brought her to our house for the past two Christmases-to be honest it was a bit of a nightmare.
Special taxi was very costly because it was Christmas day-although that wasn't really a concern.
We live a little nearer to the home so she stayed just about 3 hours. We couldn't manage toileting-she had to use the incontinence pad-was upset.
We are not trying this year-we will spend the morning with her at the nursing home. Her confusion has increased and I don't think she will appreciate it anyway.
I am sure there will be ways round this if you are all determined but if you are advised that it wouldn't actually be safe I would think very carefully.
If she wants it very much and can pay for a carer etc herself I would do that even though its only one day.

Coffeeinapapercup Wed 12-Nov-14 07:51:28

Worst case scenario and she couldn't come, Do you think the home would help you to set up her up with a tablet that linked through Skype to you? Then she could be a virtual part of the proceedings

Honeycrumb Wed 12-Nov-14 10:45:19

Thanks everyone for the input and suggestions. We'll see what my mil and staff say at our next weekend visit re the various options.

coffeeinapapercup thanks for the suggestion but we will see her on xmas day no matter what, whether it's at our house or at the care home.

Fannyfifer sadly we're nowhere near Fife!

I'll update you all when we've made some decisions.

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