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

We received a phone call from a concerned daughter. Her 82 year old mother was seemingly suffering with a cold and had absolutely no energy. As a result, she was neither eating nor drinking reliably. The daughter thought it would be wise to have a caregiver spend some time with her mother, reminding her to eat and drink, to keep her company, and generally assist her with household tasks until the mother recovered.

With this information in hand, I visited her mother. I found a pale, pleasant woman, still in her pajamas in the middle of the morning. Her son in law was present. He said she looked better this day than the previous day. I checked the Client’s medications and noted that she had prescriptions for Lipitor, apo-hydro, lisonopril, amlodipine and entrophen. Other, over the counter medications that she was taking included tylenol arthritis, aspirin and tylenol with caffeine and codeine.

Blood pressure was 112/60 (low), heart rate 82 (high), and client complained of fatigue and general achiness. She wondered if she might have the “flu”. I told her that I did not think so.

I asked if her physician was aware of all of her medications, including the over the counter group. She said that she wasn’t sure. She said that she saw her family doctor regularly.

With her permission, I called the family doctor and informed him of the client’s condition and I expressed my concern over the excessive aspirin intake. I asked about recent bloodwork results, including hemoglobin and INR values. I told him I was extremely concerned that the Client might have an internal bleed. The doctor suggested she come to see him immediately and that she bring all the medications that she was currently taking.

I told the family and the Client of my concerns and the doctor’s request.

The next day I received a call from the family, thanking me for my visit. They called for an ambulance immediately after I left the Client’s home. The Client was admitted to hospital due to a gastrointestinal bleed.

When it comes to seniors health, you can’t always assume the obvious. Sometimes, a cold is more than a cold!

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