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Posted April 19, 2005

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Elderly Behavior: Recovering Mom Doesn't Cooperate

Q. My grandmother is in the hospital and is very uncooperative with the staff. Any ideas on how to deal with this? She is recovering from open heat surgery, and because she is so uncooperative she is hindering her recovery. Is this a common problem? She is 78.

MaLisa L., Tinley Park, Illinois

A. This is not unusual, and it is a difficult recovery. I wonder if there are any geriatric specialist physicians at the hospital who could do a consultation with your mother?

Also, ask the nursing staff what their thoughts are on your mother's behavior. They might not realize this is unusual for her, and perhaps a family meeting with you and the staff might result in a plan to help your mother through this recovery.

Remember that she has had a major assault to her body, and she is in a strange environment. Some planning of her care would help the situation.

This answer has been provided by Dr. Tara A. Cortes, the Senior Vice President for Patient Care Operations and Chief Nursing Officer at Bridgeport Hospital in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and Clinical Professor at Yale University in the School of Nursing doctoral program.  Cortes is a published author and consultant in the areas of geriatric care and nursing administration and leadership. She can be reached at atcort@bpthosp.org.

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