Monday, November 16, 2015

Acquired Brain Injury Day 24

A day of consultation. It was a busy day, Colleen and I met with the her team leader, her Doctor, her Physiotherapist, her Speech Pathologist,  and her Social Worker. 

The Dr. informed us that Colleen still had the infection that she had contracted when she was at the Alfred, and it appeared that the antibiotics were not working. This was a problem and it was affecting her ability to recover, so they would be taking more blood and doing some more tests to see what they needed to do to combat the infection.

The meeting with the others were introductory each person came by Colleen's room during the day just to meet with us and explain their role and how they would be working with Colleen over the next two to three weeks. The consensus was that Colleen should only need two weeks or more, of rehabilitation.

The Caulfield Acquired Brain Injury Ward opened in late October and has  42 single-bed rooms, designed to be comfortable for patients while undertaking rehabilitation as an inpatient. 

This center was the State of Victoria’s first purpose-built center of excellence in brain injury rehabilitation. It was built for the purpose of providing specialist treatment for patients with acquired brain injuries – from early stages of care through to rehabilitation and return to the community. 

The unit was set up to support rehabilitation and to meet the needs of patients with severe brain injuries resulting from trauma, stroke and other medical causes of acquired brain injury. At the time Colleen was admitted there were less than 20 patients in the ward.

Colleen had a room right across from the nurses station, as she was in a high dependency ward and she was deemed a wanderer, so they needed to keep a close eye on her. There were only four other patients in the ward with her. Each patient had their own room. No outside stimulation was allowed in the ward, which meant no radio, no TV, no newspapers or magazines.  The ward was secured and you could only get in or out by being buzzed in or out by the staff. The ward was monitored by CCTV at all times. 

I soon realized that the people in this particular section of the hospital, were in the most vulnerable positions, medically. So the Caulfield medical team were still concerned that Colleen could have a setback.  

Patients could only have a maximum of two visitors at one time and the visiting hours were strictly controlled. The patients were well cared for but had no freedom, which made sense as they had no short term memory. The fear was that if they wandered off, they could not know where to go or how to get back. If they wandered out of the hospital, they might not remember how to get back.
Colleen's short term memory although it was still not all there, I thought, was returning, as she was at least aware she was in a hospital. I had been asked the day before to bring clothes for Colleen as the feeling of the team was that the patient should be dressed as they would normally dress day to day. 
The only problem that I had was when she was dressed Colleen wanted to go home. She still thought, from time to time, that she was in Canada. Every time she looked out the window of her room, she saw streets that looked like Canadian streets and trees that looked like Canadian trees (Beech, Elm, Oak), so in her mind we were in Vancouver.

After the day of consultation I believed she was in good hands, my hope was that they would be able to cure the infection sooner rather than later.

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