chest pain?

I was recently called by a memory care community on a weekend to say one of our clients was being sent to the emergency department for chest pain. This client is near 90, has advanced dementia and lives in a locked memory care unit.

I went down to the ER to meet her ambulance and see her safely transitioned into a room. She is one who likes to walk about and is also very very hard of hearing so I knew we I would have to be there with her to keep her safe. She has known me for years so she was happy to see I was there for her.

As I assisted with changing her clothes into a Johhny this is what I found. Her bra was so tight that it was leaving a red mark across her back and sides. She also had one breast that was under the band creating discomfort for her. As I was taking it off her she immediately responded with a sigh of relief. There was a dark red area around where the band was along with bruising of the small breast that was caught under the band. THIS was her chest pain.

The doctor soon came in to evaluate her. Performed an EKG ordered a cat scan of her chest and drew blood. I assured him that the problem wasn't related to her heart the problem was related to her bra. He chuckled and said how so? I explained. 

The client was able to report to us where her pain was because she still could read the written word when asking her questions. It was clear it came from the areas that were bruised and reddened from putting her bra on that was far too small.

It begs the question as to how the aides in this privately paid community at the tune of $9000.00 a month could miss that this bra was far too tight to put on and wasn't placed correctly. Why would no one realize that it was not acceptable to put on her if it didn't fit?

She went back to the facility with this information that was shared with staff and there was no explanation for why this happened. We then threw out all her bras bought T-shirts for her and had a discussion with the staff. No one appeared to be too concerned that this happened or concerned that this created an ambulance ride that is disruptive and a cost to the system that wasn't warranted.

We can't make these stories up. 


Ask an Advocate is an Education Series provided by PAFY, Inc.

Sharon Gauthier RN/MSN/CGM

Certified Dementia Practitioner