Client with Muscular Dystrophy

Postby turtleswim » Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:14 am

I was a care giver for an elderly client for about six weeks. He has muscular dystrophy and cannot use his core muscles. He cannot walk. he can barely stand. He fired me today because I told him going to town for random reasons was dangerous. He said, "OK, you're done. I'll get someone else to do it." It was hard to leave. He really needs two people to help him with that. I called my agency and they understood. I learned that MD can not only debilitate your muscles, the resulting stress can make you lash out and become verbally aggressive. He will get another helper tomorrow. I hope he can relax a little and not fire the next person who simply wants to bath, cloth and feed him. Has anyone out there dealt with muscular dystrophy or helped someone with it?
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Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:57 am

turtleswim wrote: I told him going to town for random reasons was dangerous.

I bet he didn't see his reason for wanting to go to town as "random".

An adult with any illness doesn't want to be treated as if they are incapable of understanding the potential consequences of their requests. In his mind, whatever reason he had to go to town was perfectly reasonable and the potential danger acceptable.

It is a tricky issue, because as a care taker you are in a position where you do need to try and gauge a person's capabilities and those may or may not be more accurate than the person's own assessment.

For instance, my dad is at a stage of physical heath where the rest of the family is concerned regarding his ability to drive. The family...mainly my mother...drives my father most of the time. But occasionally he decides he is going to drive. We can't tell him no, that to drive for random reasons while other capable drivers are in the family is too dangerous. It would be treating him as if he is incapable of exercising good judgment. Instead, he walks out the door, runs his errand and we all breath easier upon his return.

Bottom line, I don't think you can attribute his decision to let you go as being caused by MS. Rather he let you go, because you believe you have better judgment than he does. You believe you understand his limitations better than he does. That is why he fired you.
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Postby turtleswim » Thu Jun 22, 2017 6:27 pm

Thanks for the reply. There are lots of debates about mobility with disabled and elderly individuals. I appreciate your voice and how you can see what is really going on. I think unless I am willing to deal with debates like these, I should not be helping elderly people. Working with people is very challenging. I am unemployed so I will remember what you said when I look for work. I might work with things (manufacturing) instead of people. That way I don't have to engage in debates that are too overwhelming for me.
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Postby whybotherwhynot » Sun Jun 25, 2017 4:53 am

Working with elderly people or physically or mentally impaired clients at their own home is much harder than working with those in a hospital, nursing home or a long term care. At private home, you work alone, you don't have much support when the client gets upset or acts out for some reason. Working in the hospital or nursing home, you work with others as a team, you have much support; if someone is very difficult, you have nurses, managers, leader, doctors right there with you.

If you still want to take care of or work with people in the nursing field, instead of things, you can take a Health Care Aide course in six months, LPN in two years, or RN in four years.
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Postby turtleswim » Sun Jun 25, 2017 11:05 pm

Thanks for writing. Yes this was the hardest thing ever. I keep hearing his bizarre statements in my head. The most difficult thing he said in about six weeks was something about making a threatening phonecall to a jazz club. I prayed hard for a few days to center myself and feel better. I want to be positive and professional. I think I learned from this experience about how terrified people are of death. I had no idea people would say such horrible things just because they feel powerless. I think I now have a better understanding of how to face death and how to be compassionate towards those who are mourning, are ill or who are deteriorating physically.
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Postby CaffeCosta » Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:11 am

Yes I agree.
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