A Sense of Stability Thanks to a Care Manager

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By Christy Brudin

At first, Linda* just seemed a little forgetful, according to James*, her husband of 43 years. Then, her employer started noticing some problems and suggested she take a yearlong sabbatical. During that time, Linda’s memory deteriorated and her increasing confusion eventually led to a car accident. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but the family knew they needed to act.

“After many diagnoses and mis-diagnoses, she was finally diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s,” James said.

As Linda’s diagnosis was complicated by vision problems, her medical issues and the resulting treatments were becoming increasingly difficult for James to manage.  When a bad medication reaction led to a psychotic episode, he had no choice but to admit her to a psychiatric ward.

“When she leaves [the ward], she has lots of doctors and lots of medicine,” said James. “I’m dealing with four different doctors and not one of them talks to the others, and I was getting really frustrated.”

James shared his frustration with a hospital administrator, who suggested he enlist the help of a geriatric care manager. She referred him to Golden Pond ElderCare Strategies. After meeting with Megan Descutner, MS, RN, about how she could help him and his wife, James was hopeful.

He immediately knew he had made the right decision when the family friend who stayed with Linda during the day was unable to come one morning. James called Megan and asked for help. “She knew who to call, and we had someone that same day who came in and stayed with my wife,” he recalled.

When James decided it was time to get Linda off some of her medications, Megan found Copper Ridge, a facility that offered Linda specialized Alzheimer’s care. After six weeks, Linda was feeling better and only taking three medications. During that time, Golden Pond helped James find Great Falls Assisted Living, where Linda has since continued to receive the appropriate medical care.

“Through all this, Megan was there. Whenever Linda had a medical change, I’d call her,” explained James. “For someone like me, with little or no experience with anything like this, she was a lifeline.”

Through the difficult decisions and challenging transitions, James is relieved that both him and his wife now have a sense of stability. “When it comes to medical issues, you always hear, ‘Get a second opinion,’” he said.  “Well, the care manager is the person who helps you ask the right questions for the first and second opinions. They are the voice of reason.”

*Names have been changed.

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