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My aunt's mental state declined as a result of scar tissue in her brain from radiation treatments for her cancer. Her cancer is gone, but she now has frequent boughts of confusion and needs help caring for herself. Her husband and daughter have control of her care. Her daughter has made several comments that suggest she has not been giving my aunt all of her medications, but nothing that could be proved. In addition, I have also heard stories from various family members of instances where they have let her sit in soiled garments for hours or forgotten to feed her. They deny this. I have also heard stories in which her husband calls her "a hideous thing" and "grotesque monster". Again, I cannot prove these things. I live several states away and I am getting my information from secondary sources. No one ever called APS because they did not want to upset my aunt or cause a rift in the family.
Recently, her family allowed a case of shingles to advance so far that my aunt swelled terribly and had to be hospitalized and fed with a feeding tube. In the hospital, under the proper care and medications, she recovered quickly and was doing well. However, instead of taking her home, they put her in a hospice. There was no information or indication that a hospice is necessary at this time. When her family was questioned by my aunt's brothers and sisters, they were told that she was sent there to die and would not recover.
To date, my aunt has not been told (and is not allowed to know) that she is in a hospice for the rest of her life. Her family has instructed everyone to tell her that she was just moved to another facility to get better - they said she wouldn't know the difference and that she would die soon anyway. She knows that difference, she keeps asking when she will get to go home. There is no evidence she is dying. In addition, none of her children (nor her husband) have gone to visit her since she has been moved. My aunts and several other cousins have been to visit her and say that she is alert and doing well. There is no evidence that she is dying or as cognitively deficient as her daughter keeps implying. We believe that her previous cognitive difficulties were due to improper administration of medication, poor diet, and anger over poor care (even though we know that she can speak, she won't speak to her daughter when she is in the room).
Because of her diminished mental capacity, and there obviously is some confusion and difficulty caring for herself, she cannot legally appoint another caretaker. Her daughter will not willingly give up this power, and her husband just wants her "disgusting out of his sight." My aunts and uncles want to know if there is anything they can do to gain control of her care so that they can work with her to pick a facility of her choosing or to provide home health care if possible (though we do not think it is a good idea based on her families past behavior).

Is there anything we can do?

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Nobody knows hospice until they get to it. Hospice is recommended by the MD and approved by Medicare when the doctor feels it is time and the patient agrees to it. This means there is very little time left, usually six months or less. You can't just put someone on hospice by your choice. It is a medical decision. They stop chemo. They don't do major surgery. If you break a leg, they will fix that, but if you need a liver transplant, it won't be done. You are allowed morphine, which would normally be denied. You are allowing any med that makes you comfortable and relaxed.
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I think I must not understand what hospice is, I thought you put a person in hospice care when they were dying and only had a short time left. I thought they were kept comfortable but allowed to die... if this is true then would they provide medications other than those to keep the person comfortable or knocked out?

I may just not understand what "hospice care" actually is. I apologize if I have offended anyone with my lack of understanding.
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Be aware that once in Hospice, many medications, particularly ones that prolong life, are discontinued. You are too far away and maybe feel a little guilty about not being there to help. Go and help or step aside and let the caregivers get on with their job. Second guessing from afar upsets both you and them.
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@sonsonson, sometimes that is what they decide to do, though most of the time they give oral antibiotics just because it might make the person feel a little better. But sometimes people really do decide not to intervene at all anymore and "allow natural death" and just take measures to prevent further suffering instead of to cure any illness. If that's the case, and your aunt is probably very ill and debilitated and not getting much out of living at this point...It may not be really wrong to decide that....but I'm sorry to hear of yet another caring person losing a loved one this holiday season!
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my aunt is 87 and has been sent to hopice and not being treated for bladder infection and pnuenonia is this normal her family sayes she geriatric and so she has dementia some what as well is this normal to not help her recover without antibiotics
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Dear ELeeMill: Your clarification certainly helped to put things in better perspective. Putting matters in the hands of a lawyer is the smart thing to do. Hopefully the situation will be cleared up quickly, both morally and medically. Your Aunt is fortunate to have such a caring niece.
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Thank you for your responses. I agree that my aunt is better off in a hospice where doctors are supervising her care, but we are worried that she is not recieving any medications. I think I should explain that our family is very unusual in that we are all heavily involved in each others lives. I am the exception, because I live several states away for school. When I say something is hearsay I mean that it cannot be proven in a court of law that it was said or done, but I still believe these things occurred.
During her cancer treatment, my aunt moved back in with my ailing grandmother because her husband didn't want her in the house. He may have visited twice in the year she was there. She had to leave my grandmother's house because of my grandmother's failing health. He told my mother that she (my aunt) was fat and hideous and that he didn't want to look at her ugly old a**. My mother told him off. He is not despairing the loss of his wife.
After a doctors appointment, an aunt witnessed my cousin (my sick aunt's daughter) throwing away 4 prescriptions that the doctor had given her. When asked, she said that two were too expensive and she wasn't paying for them, meaning she wouldn't use my aunts money for them (my mom and her sisters have offed to pay - they gave her money, but my aunt was never given the meds. One prescription she refused to fill because it made my aunt incontinent at night and she wasn't going to clean it up. The fourth she claimed was toxic and the doctor was just stupid for prescribing it....
As for "caring" for her mother, my cousins idea of "full-time" care included bringer her cheeseburgers from McDonalds for almost every mea, and maybe cleaning her up every other day. We know she wasn't there many times when she claimed to be because other family members saw her in other places on those days. Once At a family BBQ, My cousin brought my aunt for about 30 min, then claimed they had to leave because my aunt was too tired (even though she was talking and laughing and said she wanted to stay) -my cousin took her mother home and left her there alone while she went back to the BBQ. I was there, and I was angry, but my mother asked me not to say anything.
My family is concerned that the doctor's opinion of my aunt's failing health was due to poor care and that the doctors may have signed off on the hospice before they were able to see the improvemenents that being under regimented care brought. One doctor made a comment to one of my other aunts that my sick aunt was improving rapidly, like it was a miracle recovery, or something similar.
These are only a few instances. My mother and aunts are good people, but in a family this large and integrated, there is a lot of caution about upsetting people or making waves. I have urged them to call APS on several occasions, but they were afraid of causing a rift in the family. Now we are worried that it is too late.

Thank you all for your help. We have contacted a lawyer.
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Unfortunately or not, the husband and/or the daughter have legal authority as to Mom's care. Everything you related is heresay, not fact. As others have stated, a person can not arbitrarily be sent to a hospice facility. It has to be medically recommended, and in general the diagnosis must be that the person has 6 months or less to live - so evidently, her family knows something that you don't. It usually has been pre-determined via an Advance Directive as to what medically necessary treatments the patient will receive - generally whatever is required to keep the patient comfortable without administering life-prolonging meidcations. If all the hearsay is true, it sounds like Mom is better off in the hospice facility with attentive round the clock personal and medical care. When people come to visit, the patient often perks up, and for a short while, appears to be in better shape mentally and physically than they really are. So it is possible that the visitors are mis-interpreting Mom's condition just based on what they observed during the visit. After the visitors leave, they soon go back to their mentally foggy state, and awareness of their physical discomforts. At least where she is now, you can be reasonably certain that she is being well-treated. IMO, I would not interfere, as surely it would not be well received by her immediate family. Perhaps you could just call or send cards to let her know you are thinking of her and praying for her, and your attention would bring her some joy.
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You have to see for yourself. If your aunts and uncles are so concerned, they should get a lawyer and find out how they can help under the laws of their state. It does sound horrible, but so far, it's just hearsay.

The daughter may be a leech, but she may also be someone who has had a hard life, so go easy on her until you know which.
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I was going to make the same point realtime did. If your aunt is in hospice it's because a Dr. concluded that she doesn't have very long to live. Family members can't opt for hospice on their own, a Dr. has to sign off on it and Dr.'s won't sign off on it if they don't think it's appropriate (my dad's Dr. refused to sign off on hospice for months).

I understand you are concerned about your aunt and I'm glad your aunt has you to be concerned and to be an advocate for her. But you need to see for yourself what's going on before you take any action. For example, "Uncle Johnny told cousin Sue who told me....." is not enough information. Remember that old child's game, Post Office? I've seen that happen over and over where someone mistakes someone else's tone and then infers something that's totally inaccurate but relays the information along as gospel. You have to see for yourself.
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Whoa! Before rushing to judgment about the motives of the husband and daughter, remember that you don't know anything about your aunt's situation first hand. When you say there's "no evidence" of this, or that, it's based on what your aunt's sisters and brothers tell you. The fact that they themselves don't have evidence doesn't mean there isn't any. If they aren't her POA, they wouldn't have access to her medical information. If your aunt is in hospice, it's because her doctor --- not her daughter or husband --- concluded she has less than 6 months to live. So you can't say there is "no information" that she belongs in hospice. How do you know her daughter and husband haven't been to visit her? You say she's frequently confused --- she may not remember who has visited her. So her daughter used her mother's money to live on. Was she taking care of her full time? Many family caregivers get paid in some way. Someone told you that her husband told someone else that she is "hideous" and "grotesque." Is that really so awful? It could be a cry of despair --- presumably to someone he thought he could trust to understand --- from a man who is seeing the love of his life deteriorate in front of him. Maybe her husband and daughter are as bad as your relatives are telling you --- well, if so, she's in the right place now --- 24 hour care from trained staff. Why on earth would you want to move her out of a place where she'll get loving care and support during the end of her life? What can her siblings offer her that's better? You know what this sounds like to me --- part of the family can't accept that their relative belongs in hospice, and are looking for excuses to criticize her daughter and husband for letting her be there.
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Some people just have absolutely no conscience and they do not care how they treat basically anyone. It is sad that you are not in the position to be able to march in and say we are taking her home to care for her. I am sure it would be best for her to spend her last days with family who loves her.
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I think her medicare/disability is paying for the hospice. Her daughter made a comment about having to find a job now - she has been living off of my aunt's checks since she got sick. She has never been able to hold down a full time job, and she used the excuse of taking care of her mother to justify taking her money.
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I would say they need to contact an attorney to find out if anything can be done. Her family wants her to die and be out of their way. How long can she stay in Hospice and who pays for that? If the family had to pay I doubt she would be there but it doesn't sound like she is getting the needed care at home. I think I would contact APS and speak to them as well.
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