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【Wanqingyi Care】Hoarding clutter is a crisis, and everyone is renovating their home to keep stroke patients safe.

【Wanqingyi Care】Hoarding clutter is a crisis, and everyone is renovating their home to keep stroke patients safe.

Text: “Geriatrician” by Liang Wanfu

(Hong Kong News) “Oh, Dr. Liang, you don’t know something. It turns out that when the incident is unfolding in front of you, it is a completely different experience. Although I have taken care of many stroke patients, when it was my mother’s turn to be hospitalized for a sudden stroke, I didn’t know I was overwhelmed. I was worried as long as she stayed in the hospital. At first I was worried that she would not survive, but now she is alive and can even be discharged, but my mind is blank. She is no longer able to take care of herself as before. Suddenly, I really don’t know what to do. Where should I send my mother? I am really confused and feel useless. Why do I become so clueless? Is it what people call ‘flower girls arranging bamboo leaves’? Ah!” Yaoyao explained.

Sudden stroke and loss of ability to take care of oneself

I don’t know if Yuanyuan’s situation is considered a “flower girl planting bamboo leaves”, but I have some experience with “you can’t heal yourself but you can’t heal yourself”. Because I have witnessed many senior medical staff, and even myself, often become overwhelmed when a loved one is critically ill, and feel doubly helpless and helpless. Therefore, being troubled from a distance is actually human nature.

Yaoyao’s mother, Aunt Zhu, is 80 years old this year and has always been strong and tough. When her husband died of illness in his prime, she supported the family on her own and raised her two daughters as a single parent. Aunt Zhu is independent and capable, and does everything herself. After her two daughters got married and moved away, she stayed alone in her original residence and lived an active and independent life. I meet up with friends to play mahjong every week and go to the park to practice Tai Chi every morning. My life is fulfilling and interesting. As for housework, she never wanted or needed help from others. She also often makes elaborate snacks to give to relatives and friends. I was full of praise for her exclusive pistachio crispy fried rice dumplings and bacon and eyebrow bean rice dumplings. After giving back, I was even more satisfied.

Unexpectedly, more than three months ago, the bad news came that Aunt Zhu had suffered a stroke and was hospitalized. That day, Aunt Zhu got up as usual and planned to go out to practice Tai Chi, but she found that the left side of her body could not move. Fortunately, her consciousness and mind were still clear at the time, and she immediately pressed the safety bell that had been installed for a long time. The center immediately called an ambulance for her and took her to the emergency room. He was diagnosed with acute stroke, but he missed the “golden 3 hours” of treatment and failed to receive hemolysis treatment. He was eventually sent to the acute stroke ward for observation and treatment.

Aunt Zhu stayed in the acute stroke ward for two weeks and was then transferred to the rehabilitation ward.

Recovering from a stroke is a long process. Fortunately, Aunt Zhu had a strong will to recover. After staying in the rehabilitation ward for more than two months, the ward nurse made an appointment with Yaoyao: “Congratulations, your mother’s recovery is very ideal. She is really a good patient, hard-working and obedient. She doesn’t need to be there now.” She can stand up with support. Of course, she is still not able to go up and down the steps, but with the help of a four-legged fork, she can walk a few steps. She tells us every day that she wants to go home, and we hope that she can do so. .So, you should consider letting her leave the hospital and go home for rehabilitation care as soon as possible!”

Collecting old things and not wanting to throw them away

This should have been good news, but Yuanyuan said the difficulty: “Oh, go home”! I no longer know where my mother’s “home” is. Although she can now stand up on her own and walk a few steps under supervision, she is still far from being able to take care of herself. She must have someone to accompany her and take care of her before she can live. Where should she live? My sister’s family immigrated, and my family really had no room. What to do? “

“What’s the problem with my aunt’s own residence? Why is it not considered?” I couldn’t help but ask.

“Oh, Dr. Liang. You don’t know something! My mother has always been the number one opponent of ‘cutting off, giving up, and leaving’. The home she has lived in for more than 40 years has become smaller and smaller. Although there is nearly 400 feet of space, It is difficult to live with one more person. My mother never wants to throw away old things. She keeps collecting old photos and clothes, and new stoves and kitchen utensils are added year by year. Even the kitchen cannot be replaced. One day I found out that several The big box is the belongings of our two sisters, including childhood paintings, homework books, report cards and documents, even our kindergarten report card. I really admire her. So, if the whole house is not moved, she will I can’t live in it anymore.” Yaoyao complained.

Consult experts to modify your home environment

This is quite true. If you want to take care of yourself at home after a stroke, you must first consider the home environment. An environment with excessive accumulation of clutter is definitely a dangerous situation for stroke victims. Safety and appropriateness must be considered, and facilities must be safe and compatible with post-stroke physical limitations.

The design of the toilet, bathroom and bedroom is the most important. It is best to change the bathtub into a standing tub and be barrier-free, and add handrails next to the toilet. In the bedroom, the height of the bed should be moderate and should not be too high to avoid increasing the patient’s risk of falling; the mattress should be supportive and can support the patient’s body to get up easily; anti-fall rails should be installed beside the bed. In addition, floors should be non-slip, paying special attention to toilet, bathroom and kitchen floors.

However, before making any changes, it is best to obtain professional advice from an occupational therapist. The therapist will go to the patient’s home to evaluate and make recommendations based on the patient’s condition.

First, improve home care capabilities

“Oh, if we want to renovate, it will take two or three months at the earliest! But she is going to be discharged from the hospital now, where should I let her go?” Yaoyao asked distressedly.

To meet the urgent need, I suggested that Yuanyuan consider letting her mother stay in a hospital temporarily. There are several institutions in Hong Kong specially designed for stroke survivors. Family members can make necessary home preparations during the patient’s stay, and the patient can also have sufficient time to adapt.

Supporting stroke patients to recover at home cannot be achieved overnight, because after a stroke, most of the recovered patients will have some degree of physical disability. With limited mobility, daily household chores such as shopping for groceries, cooking, and washing clothes will encounter difficulties; and for individuals, You may also need assistance with care, such as bathing or going to the toilet. Therefore, when patients return home to recover, the first priority is to improve their home care capabilities.

Safety facilities – If you want to take care of yourself at home after a stroke, you must first consider the safety and appropriateness of your home. The facilities must be safe and compatible with the physical restrictions after a stroke.

Geriatrics Dr. Leong Man Hock

Hire foreign helpers to take care of you and make good use of community resources

Aunt Zhu’s current condition is not suitable for living alone. She needs 24-hour support when she returns home to recover. In other words, you need to have family members or servants living with you to take care of you.

Since it is difficult for my family to move to live with my mother permanently, I suggest considering applying for a foreign domestic helper to help take care of her. After the foreign helper arrives, he can first go to the home to observe and learn and get to know the aunt. When the foreign helper has mastered the relevant knowledge, he can take the aunt home to take care of her. This arrangement may make everyone feel more at ease.

Check the safety of your home environment

“Okay, Dr. Liang. Thank you. Now I finally have some ideas. But what should I do first? Clean up the clutter in the house to make space, ask an occupational therapist for advice on home design, find a decorator to follow up and implement the decoration. , find a suitable accommodation for my mother in a rehabilitation treatment institution, register and apply for a foreign domestic helper at the employment center, persuade my mother to arrange for a short stay in a residential institution…it seems that everything is ready to go.” Yaoyao sighed.

Don’t let anxiety get to your head

Yes, we need to take a multi-pronged approach at this stage, and it is best to arrange everything as soon as possible. I even advised Yaoyao: “After making all arrangements for your mother, you should also prepare for your own residence, because when it comes to us At this age, home facilities must be safe and meet the needs. If you want to prepare well for aging, now is the right time to review the safety of your home environment.”

In addition, for stroke patients and their families, understanding and making good use of community resources can really help. For home or community care services, we can consider: domestic helpers and home care services, improved home and community care services, day care services, day care respite services for the elderly, integrated home care services, community care services, home occupational therapy services , rehabilitation equipment rental services, etc.

As for the application method, you can directly contact the Integrated Family Service Center, Medical Social Services Department, District Elderly Center, Neighborhood Elderly Center, Elderly Activity Center, Hong Kong Yiu Neng Association, Engineering and Medical Voluntary Work Association, Social Welfare Department hotline, Hospital Authority hotline Query.

There are services and there are methods. As long as we don’t let anxiety get to our heads, we can see the light and move forward with confidence.

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