ARTICLES / General / The
By Trish Hughes Kreis
While at the Skilled Nursing Facility, I had
several meetings with the out-placement director.
I still thought Rob could go home once the infection
was cleared up and he and Judy could continue
managing on their own, with my assistance on the
weekends, and, hopefully, a few hours a day of some
competent in-home care. The out-placement
director told me this was not advisable. I
don’t even think he was that nice about it. He
flat out told me Rob could not safely live on his
own. I continued to think they just didn’t
know Rob, that Rob had been able to do fairly well,
until recently, on his own. I also argued with
the facility about the “mental retardation” notation
on Rob’s chart. Sure, he was slow to answer
but that was because his brain was in a fog and not
able to process conversation as quickly as others.
He was not retarded and what an archaic description!
I was incensed he was saddled with this label.
While visiting Rob everyday, I slowly began to
realize that he really could not take care of
himself. He did not make safe decisions.
His short-term memory was terrible. He
occasionally couldn’t make it to the bathroom on
time. Yet, he did everything the nurses asked
of him. He was polite. He dutifully took
his medications and ate all of his meals. In
fact, he ate as if he hadn’t eaten in ages.
I eventually realized that Rob needed more help than
I could give him on the weekends or a caretaker
could give a few hours a day.
The nurses at the Skilled Nursing Facility loved
Rob. He was a sweetheart and they cared for
him with extra attention due to his seizure
activity. Amazingly, neither the nurses nor
residents feared him even though he was probably the
only resident who would fall backwards without
warning – sending little old ladies scurrying out of
Even faced with all of this information and new
insight, I struggled with the decision to send him
home to live with Judy or find a suitable Assisted
Living Facility for him. I hated to take Rob
from Judy and worried what would happen to her if we
found a Care Facility for Rob. I fretted about
taking away his autonomy but had to weigh that
against safety and health concerns.
Rob couldn’t decide what he wanted to do either –
some days he wanted to go back home to Judy and
other days he wanted to live in a Care Facility and
have people make his meals, give him his medications
and keep him healthy.
Our Mom had died nine years earlier and I
wondered what she would have wanted for him.
Would placing Rob in a Care Facility have upset her?
Would she want that for her youngest son?
Dad thought it a terrible idea but his notions of
Care Facilities had been formed 60 years ago as a
child when he saw his grandparents warehoused in a
facility. Plus, he had proven he wouldn’t be
much help if Rob went back home.