Here is an email I sent to one of my old college friends in the spring of 2012. His wife and her family work in the medical profession and had been offering me a bit of advice about mom.
From: Gagne, David
Subject: Re: Treatment Team Meeting 2.28.12
Sent: March 20, 2012 12:11 PM ET
I am so sorry for not replying to you sooner and for not updating all of you in a more timely manner. The last three weeks have been a whirlwind.
After (literally) months of being under Dr. Caliendo’s care — first at Stewart-Marchman Act (SMA) and then at Halifax Psychiatric Center (HPC) — suddenly it was decided that my mom was stable enough to be discharged and the administrators (via Dr. Caliendo and the counselors at HPC) starting putting considerable pressure on us to get her out of there.
Incredibly my sister found Grace Manor Port Orange ( http://www.gracemanorportorange.com/ ) almost exactly at the same time that this was happening. I had several conversations with Janis Stovall, the administrator there, and was pleasantly surprised at how refreshingly honest, upbeat, positive, and — most importantly — COMPETENT she sounded. She was happy to email me and talked about using her iPad to take notes and the bedside touchscreen monitors they have in the rooms there.
She also told me that she thought it was unconscionable that my mother had not been granted Medicaid yet, and that this was something she could help us resolve and that she was willing to accept my mother as a resident and we could work out the details of the payments later. She said several times that she did not think my mother’s problems were because of brain damage but rather — as my wife and I have been saying — seem to be caused primarily by the massive amounts of drugs she was being given in the public health care system.
My mom has been at Grace Manor for a week now, and today she has an appointment with her old psychiatrist, Dr. Oh. My sister has slept on the couch or in a chair in her room several times and has spent a considerable amount of time at Grace Manor and she says that it is a truly wonderful facility. (She is the one taking my mom to the doctor’s office today.)
I unfortunately had to liquidate my mom’s State of Florida pension fund in order to pay for the (pro-rated) first month’s “rent” at Grace Manor. She had a little more than $10k in the pension fund and almost 25% of that immediately disappeared to taxes, but everyone in “the system” seems to think that it is basically irrelevant because regardless of what happens, she is soon to burn through that money and need to collect government support; and that it will actually be simpler to get government support *without* having that asset making her appear less needy.
So that’s the story so far. My mom still sounds awful, but at least now she (and we) all seem to have a bit of hope in our spirits and that has been a huge difference. I am crossing my fingers that Dr. Oh this afternoon will immediately stop the administration of Haldol (and several of the other drugs) and / or quickly and easily take a new tact in her medication regimen. I will keep you posted.
At this point I (still) have not contacted any of the legal professionals that [your dad] recommended, though I dearly, dearly, and sincerely appreciate having them as resources if I need them. Because we have not yet found a compelling reason for me to assume Power of Attorney over my mom, and because Janis and her team at Grace Manor have said they can handle the Medicaid applications for us, I am not sure why I would be contacting a lawyer right now and would hate to waste someone’s time. Please let me know if you think I’m crazy and that I should be doing something differently.
Thank you so much,
David Vincent Gagne
My friend’s wife’s dad responded to my email a couple of hours later:
To: Gagne, David
Subject: RE: Treatment Team Meeting 2.28.12
Sent: March 20, 2012 2:41 PM EST
David: Thanks for updating us and Glad things are working out well at Grace Manor. I agree that you should keep those names I gave you in reserve should you need them at some future point in time. As long as the Grace
Manor facility is working with you in completing the Medicaid application, just continue to work with them. Liquidating the pension was also a sound idea, because it would have only stood in the way of Medicaid approval. As long as you can prove (which you can) that the monies are being use for Mom’s care, Medicaid would support that.
We’ll stand by should you have additional questions. But it sounds like you, your sister, and Grace Manor are all doing the right things on behalf of your mom’s care. All the best, -[redacted]