GEMS in Crisis – Staying Alive – Ruby and Pearl
By: Teepa Snow - an excerpt from the April Online Dementia Journal in a time of need
People living with Ruby or Pearl states of abilities and changes are at such high risk due in large part to their internal brain and body changes related to advancing dementia.
The probability of compromised immune systems and other chronic health issues is also really high. Their frequent, existing inability to clearly spike fevers of note, limits in taking in nourishment and hydration, combined with limited oxygenation abilities, decreasing skills in organizing and using suck-swallow-breathe coordination, and effective coughing to clear airways are all problematic. Their chances of surviving the interventions that are being used to try to combat this virus are mostly slim to none.
I truly believe one of most important tasks we have in front of us is reviewing their preferences and desires about extreme measures to prolong their lives and creating safeguards to ensure that they will receive comfort and palliative care at the onset of symptoms of COVID-19, rather than heroic measures for safety that are in all probability doomed to fail miserably and painfully, until their time on this earth is completed.
It seems to me to re-house a person into a traumatic care situation, who is at this point in the journey would serve no positive purpose. In this case, sheltering in place will involve the voluntary isolation of all who are part of this care team, for the duration of the care and for at least 14 days afterward. It will also involve rigorous attention to risk reduction strategies with a clear appreciation, that there is no safe distance in this world of care. Interactions and space will be both personal and intimate, what people at my talks and programs often refer to as the splash zone.
Personal protective gear, being in short supply or absent at a professional industry-produced mode, we will be forced to create options with the best alternatives we can find. We will be sharing what we are finding out about from those on the front lines and those who experience in reducing the spread of viral conditions.