I often get asked for advice from families who are caring for seniors. As you might imagine, the questions cover a wide range of topics. Thought I would share this set of messages about removing rings from swollen fingers in hopes that anyone else facing this dilemma might get some bright ideas...(also, I think it's one of those problems no one talks about!)

BScN, RN, GNC(C) President,
Eldercare Home Health Inc.

From: Joan
Sent: December-29-11 5:42 PM
To: Lisa Wiseman
Subject: Removing rings from a Nursing Home Resident with Alzheimer’s Disease

Good afternoon:

My mother is a resident in a Nursing Home. The staff are concerned that her wedding ring band & engagement ring are cutting off her circulation, as her fingers are very swollen, and have suggested the family get the rings cut off. My mother has Alzheimer’s Disease, and is not able to travel out of the residence. Her hands are also very contractured, and it is painful for her to open her fingers.

I have seen online suggestions to remove a ring using a lubricant, ice, and/or dental floss. I don’t know if any of those would work, under the circumstances.

Do you have any suggestions on how we can remove the rings with the least amount of distress to my mother? Do you know who to contact regarding a ring-cutting service? I have sent emails to a local Jewellery store, the hospital and fire department. We would like to get Mom’s rings resized and returned to her.

I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.

From: Wiseman@eldercarehomehealth.com
To: Joan
Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2011 12:16
Subject: RE: Removing rings from a Nursing Home Resident with Alzheimer’s Disease

Hello Joan,

We recently had a client in a very similar predicament. We tried some of the interventions that you’ve listed, but they were not successful.

In the end, our Registered Nurse purchased a small wire cutter with a flat tip, from Home Depot. She cut the ring off without incident. (You could then have the ring repaired and re-sized by a jeweller.)

I hope this has been helpful.

Lisa

Good afternoon, Lisa:

Thank you for your reply. I thought you might want to know how it was resolved.

On Friday, Dec 31/11, the Nursing home called 911, and Paramedics arrived at the Nursing home, but did not have the tools to remove the rings. They escorted my Mom by non-emergency ambulance to a local hospital emergency department, where her 2 rings were cut off. Mom was then returned to the Nursing home, again by ambulance, within an hour. The rings were quite damaged, but our family will pick them up and hopefully be able to get them repaired and resized and returned to my Mom.

Again, thank you for your interest in our situation.

Sincerely,

Joan

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