My 89 year old father has dementia and Parkinson's. I am POA and MPOA. He is at an AL and this is the second time he refused an ambulance. Any suggestions?

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The calls have been from the AL nursing office. Please don't tell me he has rights, because my dad can't tell what is his health risk...what are my rights to tell the ambulance service to take him? They told me they can't if he refuses. Do I need a doctor's note to state he cannot make medical decisions to show them!?! He does listen to me and my younger sister...but who's to say that we may not be available!!!

Answers 1 to 10 of 16
Your ALF should have a copy of the Medical POA on file. You should also have a HIPPA release within that document as well so you can get results, diagnosis etc. If you have that you can make medical decisions for him. However, it depends on how it was worded. You might need to consult with an attorney. They can’t force him onto a stretcher but are you not able to talk to him on the phone to explain why it’s necessary? Is it a true emergency??
He has rights and can refuse. How often does this happen? Maybe a nursing home is a better solution?
Top Answer
If he has not been declared incompetent he can make his own decisions.
If you wish to declare him incompetent you would have to go to court and become his Guardian.
Does he have a DNR or a POLST? The POLST is more detailed than a DNR (Physicians Order for Life Sustaining Treatment).
If he truly wants no more treatment and does not want to go to the hospital you might want to contact Hospice and see if he would qualify. The good thing is he would get a Nurse that would come in every week to check on him, he would get a CNA that would come in a few times a week to bathe him and help get him dressed. Even though the facility where hi is does this it is a good thing to get an extra set of eyes on him to make sure all is well.


My experience has always been if the person can answer a few basic questions correctly the paramedics determine that they are lucid enough to make the decision of whether to go to the hospital or not.

But I have witnessed paramedics asking these basic questions to someone who can't answer them and the paramedics took the person to the ER over their objection.

I agree with the others in that if your dad refuses to get in the ambulance, they can't take him. I was faced with this myself and refused to get in the ambulance and I had to sign a waiver. (I was passing out but I knew it was from recently donating blood - a day's rest and I was ok. My blood pressure drops and I had been standing - a double no-no for me.)

Anyway, the ambulance can be sued for not listening to his wishes. Perhaps a NH would be in his immediate future.

It would also depend on why the ambulance was called? My dad used to fall and he would have refused an ambulance if called just because he fell. My DH would do the same thing. You can spend up to 12 hours in the ER room and that really bites.
How could you force your dad to go where he doesn't want to go? If you understand that dying at home is what he wants.. Why are you stopping him. Be kind and accept that hospitals are not always the best choice,.. loads of strangers coming and going whenever they need blood measurements or temperature or this or that (he needs familiar faces), feeding him what they think not what he needs (homely cooked meals) . Your dad won't rest in peace. There is a risk to catch bacteria from other pacients....
I did not have this problem when Mom was in an AL, she was complient. If ur Dad has Dementia that is when the MPOA kicks in. He is not able to make that decision. I was consulted before Mom was taken eventually. When the Nurse wasn't around the CNAs would send her out and then call me. Now, if she hit her head it was an automatic hospital trip. But the nurse and I agreed if she fell they would wait and see. My Mom suffered from arthritis and would be in pain for a while then everything would be alright. I see no problem in asking his doctor to write a letter saying that with his Dementia he can no longer make informed decisions concerning his health. That with your MPOA should be enough for the AL. Request that before an ambulance is called you r called first. Then from the info the Nurse gives you, you can determine if a hospital visit is warrented. No, the facility cannot force him but u can override him. Thats the whole purpose of a MPOA to make decisions on his behalf when he no longer can.
If they are calling you, they have concerns, which is good. If they can't be bothered to tell you and things get out of hand, then you SHOULD be concerned. They are trying to work with him and you. The issue of him refusing to go is a very touchy one. I did a lookup and found a website for nurses that discusses not just this, but many topics (rotating someone to avoid bed sores, medication refusal, bathing, changing undergarments for incontinence, etc). They are between a rock and a hard place. If they can't get compliance and something happens, they can be considered liable. If they force the issue, they can ALSO get into trouble. Neglect for bedsores, medical crisis if not medicated, etc., abuse if they try "forcing" the issue.

As others have queried, what is the ambulance for? Our mom has fallen a few times and they sent her to ER in ambulance (she tried to refuse, but she eventually went, and is not currently combative) just to be safe. Would it be better if they call you and have you take him to be checked? There is only so much they can do without worrying about charges of neglect or abuse.

I do not know if it will post, but try this or I will list my query and you can find the site:

allnurses.com

Query: what to do if patient with dementia refuses ambulance

I read through all the posts and it is enlightening. I can understand how difficult this is for the care-gives (nurses, etc). The original poster tried multiple ways to get compliance and then is written up when it fails. Consider this from THEIR perspective!! Again, work with them. If it is a concern to get him checked for whatever the issue is and he refuses to go in the ambulance, you should consider taking him yourself, unless you are not within a reasonable driving distance - then you have to decide how to handle this another way.
Hospital and rehab are very confusing for a Dementia patient. Sometimes they cause them to decline even more. I would avoid them when possible. Someone posted he is dying? I didn't see that in ur post. If this is true, do u have hospice for him. If not, maybe you should have him evaluated. No extreme measures will be taken and he will be kept comfortable. Its paid by Medicare.
As others said your POA does not kick in until the person gives permission, (or can't verbalize objections) or a court order. Since he is living in an ALF, I conclude that he is capable of self care. Read the book On being Mortal, by Atul Gawande. One thing I have not heard hear is 'what are your Dad's wishes, and this book gives some key questions.
My mother who has Alzheimer made it clear when she still had capacity that she wanted nothing medically done, unless it brought her mind back to it's normal state.' She did end up in the ER, because the ALF policy was if they fall and hit their head they had to go to ER, even if no neurological changes occurred nor the force at which the head struck the object taken into consideration. The ER visit was quite upsetting. I have been questioned about the lack of intervention, as I told them unless it is an event that cause pain or mental anguish I do not want her taken to the hospital. I have been questioned if she made that decision while she was depressed. I took her to a psychologist and reasonable care while she was very functional. But as I told ALF, the reality is inevitable and depressing, so it is difficult to say she was just being realistic or made the decisions under depression.
As someone has mentioned a POLST; it is a great document to have. It will be more likely followed than a living will, although the 2 should match.
Another thing, someone mentioned hospice, when the time comes they are wonderful, but it sounds as though his status would not yet qualify him for hospice. Some hospices, however, have a palliative care component, for those who don't qualify, but do not want life extending care.
It is difficult to manage what could be life altering care for someone you love. In the end you have to make decisions you feel you can live with, and even then you may feel you could have done some things better.

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