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Subject: knee contractures

Email: rtvel38ab@webtv.net

Message:

I'm the same Terry who wrote earlier about putting my Mom in a nursing home and also about my brother who has not inquired about Mom for the last two years. (Mom fell 2 yrs. ago & broke her hip and is now in a wheelchair - Alzheimer's' in the severe stage) Mom's Dr. told me he wanted her to get some knee splints before she became bed bound due to the contractures in her knees. After speaking to the physical therapist, I found out that the knee contractures could lead to Mom going into a fetal position. I never knew that could happen, and of course, I was devastated. She has started PT now and cries in pain when the physical therapist stretches out her legs and puts on the splints. It kills me to see her cry out in pain. I know it's best for her, otherwise, her going into the fetal position will have serious consequences, so horrible I can't even think about it, and things I recently just learned about and makes me ill just to think it could happen to my Mom. I'm so torn up, the choice was so difficult but I know I had to allow the PT for her own good. Has anybody dealt with this? Am I doing the right thing? I feel so sad...I'm on the verge of tears all the time. My Mom holds on to me and begs me to take off the splints and I wish I could.. Please, give me some advice!!
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Subject: RE: knee contractures

Email: rtvel38ab@webtv.net

Message:

Hi Sandy!

Great to hear from you. (I've posted above in the section dealing with siblings)

My Mom is in a nursing home now, and has been for 2 months. She gets therapy for the contractures, stretching exercises and then two hours with the splints. She's also been given an attachment for the wheelchair that prevents her from folding in her legs.

Placing her in a nursing home was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. I try and visit every day and leaving her there is the hardest part. But right now I'm focusing on the things that she can still do - she can eat by herself, she can hold her head up by herself, she can smile and talk fairly well, and she still recognizes me, even though sometimes she says that I'm her sister. I'm just grateful for each day that I have my Mom in my life!

Has your Mom been diagnosed with Alzheimer's? Who takes care of her when the home health aide leaves? Let me know how things stand, and if I can answer any questions, please send a message to me through the boards or e-mail me directly at rtvel38ab@webtv.net. I've been dealing with this for 5 years now, so I'm fairly knowledgeable about the subject of dementia.

Read my posts about my brother and you will know more about my situation and the news about my brother! Terry

P.S. Thank you, Gail, for adding my Mom's name to the Healing Circle! God bless you.
Subject: RE: knee contractures

Email: jiorns@snet.net

Message:

Hi Terry! I am a 53 year old woman taking care of my 84 year old mother. She is losing her memory but still gets around well. We have a home health aide come in 3 days a week to help her with her shower and house work, and so she does have someone besides me around her. I have 5 brothers and 1 of them travels an hour once every two weeks to see her and take her out to lunch. The others? One lives 2 hours away and visits once a month for 1/2 hour. The other three live within 10 minutes of here and never visit.

They leave it all up to me. One sister-in-law is always there to tell me how to do things. I have learned to avoid her. How are you doing? I see no postings since April and am interested in how you handle your mothers care as we are all close in ages.

Sandy
Subject: RE: knee contractures

Message:

Terry

Hope things are improving for you and your mother. Try to access: thriveonline.com since I believe this is where info was listed. Short excerpts from a paper and if you could find a way to get whole article it may be helpful.

Title: Contractures and loss of function in patients with Alz.

Source: Journal American Geriatric Society June 1995 43 (6) 650-5

Authors?: Souren L E, Frnssen E H, Reisberg B;

Try also to access the ALZ online site and perhaps there is a message board you could also post to. I'll check back with you when I find other info.Take care and be strong.

Dimar
Subject: RE: knee contractures

Email: rtvel38ab@webtv.net

Message:

Thanks soooo much for trying to get info for me. I'm learning a bit more about contractures, & you're right, I have been researching the web for info and have also left messages on several caregiver boards. I've received replies from an RN and a Dr. and both have explained the consequences of not doing anything for contractures.

If I had decided not to do anything, my Mom is in danger of going into the fetal position (she's already heading that way) The worst scenario is that her heels will wind up in her groin area, and of course, she would be completely bed bound and susceptible to bedsores because the skin is touching. Of course, being bed bound, she is also at risk of getting pneumonia and other complications. Scary, isn't it? So of course, I have decided on the therapy, and it's darn hard!! She's scared and cries and it's hard on me watching. She wants me to remove the splints and looks at me to help her. But I know I had no choice. At least we can keep her in the chair, I don't know for how long, but we have to try. I'm trying to take one day at a time and try not to look too far into the future.

Again, thank you for all your help and for listening. I couldn't get into that website you gave me, but I'll keep on researching. Again, thank you and may God bless you. Terry
Subject: RE: knee contractures

Message:

Terry

I'm sorry to hear about your mother's difficulty and especially her pain. I don't know anything about contractures but I'm going to find out right away since my father is now bed bound. What you said about the intense pain disturbs me. Why must that be? Maybe you could call a hospice provider and ask them to refer you to pain specialists or perhaps they have knowledge to share. I only mention hospice since they are focused on pain control. I have found them to be most willing to share information and you

DON'T have to be in hospice just to ask a question. My father is in hospice now and I'll ask the medical staff today and will email you whatever info I get. Hang in there.

Dimar
Subject: RE: knee contractures

Message:

Dimar,

Thank you for your reply and will anxiously await any information you can get. This is a subject that's not discussed too much, in fact, what happens to AZ patients in the late, late stages is not talked about too much. Look forward to hearing from you. Terry
Subject: RE: knee contractures

Message:

Hi Terry,

I spoke with one of the RNs at hospice and he explained leg contractures more thoroughly. I didn't come away with any suggestions for you. He said this is not uncommon in bed bound patients and is why Medicare forces nursing homes to get people out of bed and into chairs for a couple of hours if they can.

I'm sorry I don't have any specific information to help you. I did go onto the net to search a bit which you may have already done. Call up www.Megacrawler (a nice search engine) and just enter "contractures" for your search. You will get lots of items BUT toward the bottom under "Infoseek results" you'll see article specific to Alzheimer's and contractures. When you go into it you'll find some general info but further research may give you places to contact. If you cannot access this please let me know and I'll try it for you. You may also get info from Alzheimer's Association.

Is there no way pain relief can be provided for your mother? I know they can be tricky and cause respiratory problems sometimes so you may have already determined it's too risky. Sorry I couldn't be of some help to you.
Subject: RE: knee contractures

Email:

Message:

Dimar,

Thank you for your reply and will anxiously await any information you can get. This is a subject that's not discussed too much, in fact, what happens to AZ patients in the late, late stages is not talked about too much. Look forward to hearing from you. Terry

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