A further seizure in February 2020 led to a marked change in her character; she would become more confused, challenging to reason with and physically abusive. This was just before the start of the first lockdown. At a stroke, we were no longer permitted to exercise at the local gym – all that was possible was a daily walk locally. Our son however was a fantastic sounding board for me whilst working from the family home during the pandemic, supporting me through some of the more challenging aspects of Joanna’s care.
In late November 2020, Joanna experienced increased agitation which was causing me to fear for her safety – at one point she swiped her treasured porcelain cats across her dressing table. After one particularly distressing episode, I called 999 and when the paramedics arrived, they confirmed that Joanna had to be admitted to hospital as an emergency under the Mental Health Act.
Time in hospital
Joanna spent just over nine weeks on a hospital ward for patients with dementia and complex needs. I was unable to visit her due to Covid-19 restrictions and so we could not spend our Ruby Wedding Anniversary together. It was hard to know how Joanna was given all the pressures faced by the hospital; the failure of key medical personnel looking after her to communicate with me was appalling; it was lamentable.
The longer Joanna spent on the ward, the more it became apparent that it was the wrong place for her; I could not visit her, but the ward staff told me she became increasingly confused and agitated.
When, finally, she was moved, towards the end of January 2021, she was transferred to a care facility 100 miles from home following the decision of the doctors to discharge. Whilst Joanna is more settled now, the route to get her to this specialist facility had been tortuous, and the fact that this service couldn’t be closer to home has been an added pressure for us all.