My mother has been showing signs of dementia for a while now. She now is starting to talk to people who are not there. And she has made comments about our 3rd floor walls being wet or covered in ice, which were not true. I grew up in this house the walls never feel wet, let alone have ice on them! There are other signs as well.

So, I called my mother's Dr and talked to the receptionist and told her who I was and who I was calling about. I went on telling her that I understand the HIPPA laws, & Dr & Pt confidentiality laws. I stated "I am not calling about any of my mother's health conditions, nor her treatments."

I explain my concerns to the receptionist and asked, could she put a note in my mother's file to check for dementia "memory test" and for a "CBC" infections.

The receptionist told me "no", there was nothing she could do, just that I could go to my mother's appt with her. I explained to this lady that my mother won't let me, and she said, "sorry can't help you".

Than I asked the receptionist not to tell my mother that I called because it will start a fight between my mother & me, and she could get very aggressive and could possibly do something to me. The receptionist said, "sorry I have to tell her, because you have inquired about her medical condition." I told her " I didn't and I was very clear about that. The receptionist said, "well, I will tell her you called". I said, "ok, but you are starting a problem." She said, "oh well, you shouldn't have called" and went on to tell me to have a good day. Ugh

What am I to do to get my mother the help she needs if no one listens to me? And why would the receptionist have to tell her?

I feel like I am watching a train wreck & nobody sees it or will listen to me.

Maybe I am just asking for too much! I'll just wait for my mother to go into a frizzy or fall before I can help her. I know my mother will get violent with me at some point!

Why would the receptionist need to tell my mother? Again, I never asked any questions about my mother's healthcare!

Just needed to vent! Ugh

I did tell my mother that I called her dr because my BF and I was concerned about her health.
Later she asked me what I wanted to know, so, I told her I wanted to know what her CBC, HgH, Pt and wanted to know how her memory was. I told her I was concerned that she could have an infection that is messing with her momory.(lied)

She gave the dr my note I wrote for him. So, her dr wrote a note back to me using some medical terminology & what her numbers were, which she doesn't know medical terminology.

Her blood work numbers he gave me are in normal range. He thinks dementia is mild, but sending her to a neurologist who specialize in Alz/dementia (memory test)

My mother thinks she is seeing the neurologist for an infection. But hey I'll take it. "What she doesn't know won't hurt her!"
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to Shell38314
gdaughter Nov 3, 2018
Sounds like you are already making progress. Hard situation if she won't switch MD's, though it appears the MD might be decent but his staff sucks! Best to go imo with a family practice person or geriatric. Neurologists with a specialty in dementia are best, as are their staffs, usually. I say usually because even the best can screw up as was the case when we got an appt with one of the best and most decent guys in town 4 months out. They sent a massive packet of forms and stuff to fill out ahead and sent one to both me at my PO Box address I'd provided...and one to mom...who was together enough to read the cover letter and call and cancel the appt as soon as it arrived...without MY knowing until the day of. One line you can try in a jam is to say I know you can't answer any questions but you CAN listen to what I have to say and make a note in the record. Another is to discreetly write a note and pass it to the MD or ask someone who greet to do so. Nurses might be a better help. Having hallucinations is a serious sign...hope it all works out well
Shell I was once so enraged by the persistent appalling attitude and behaviour of a GP's receptionist I wrote a book about her. Literally! My little revenge fantasy, I've still got it somewhere...

If I were you, I should write a bare-bones summary of what you tried in vain to get across to Mrs Hitler there and send it, marked Confidential, to your mother's GP. You can do it by post, or electronically. Head it "Report, for information only." There is nothing in any law, code of conduct or indeed on God's green earth to prevent a doctor from receiving and noting information about a patient.

Now, to Mrs H's insistence that she is obliged to inform your mother that you called. I really doubt that, and I suspect her supervisor will put her right. Nevertheless, since in practice these *blasted* types are a bit of a law unto themselves, let us prepare for the worst.

So your mother toddles along for her next appointment, where Mrs H, no doubt bristling with her own self-importance, is delighted to inform her that you rang to speak to her doctor. She had *better not* phrase it as "rang your doctor about you" because that would be a gross misrepresentation of what you did, but this is a worst case scenario, so say she does. She's not the sharpest knife in the box, we know that, and she's not one for constructive discretion either. Ugh.

So your mother comes back with steam coming out of her ears and demands to know what you thought you were doing.

There is... plausible deniability. They say I rang? No idea what that's about. When was this supposed to be?

Or, there is... brushing it aside. Hm? Oh, that - yes, sure, I was just checking the date. (even better if she expects you to ferry her there and back, or there's some other reason you might need to know when her appointment is)

Or, and this wouldn't be before time, there is open defiance linked to sound rationale. Yes I did. There are things that your doctor needs to know. You're not telling him. Somebody needs to. So. What about it? Wanna bite me?

What sort of violence have you in mind?

The other reason to try again to flag your concerns with the doctor is this. Once the information has been passed to them, if they ignore it and something preventable happens, you have it on record that they *were* told.

That doesn't mean they can stop your mother falling or deteriorating because your mother is still free to refuse investigations and refuse treatment. But it does mean that her doctor will be in a better position to manage his patient to the best of his ability. You can but try.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to Countrymouse

You spoke to the wrong person - the receptionist really has no power or authority to do what you asked. Ask to speak to the nurse. Say that you are not asking them to discuss your medical records. But you want to relay relevant information. Also, get your mother to sign power of health care atorney; and authoriation for the dr. to talk to you. Don't do in the context of dementia - just that someone needs to have the authority to take care of health if she gets too sick to do it herself. Also, report the receptionist. She was rude and inappropriate. While it is not her job to take those kind of messages -- She should just said that she would connect you with the nurse.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to MsRandall

You need to report the receptionist in WRITING to the office management and Physician. Must of been one of those stupid mellennials !!!!!
I have been able to talk to the nurse off to the side about my moms change in behavior and conditions, the Physician as well. My mom and I get checked into the room at doctors office- tell my mom I have to use the ladies room, hence opportunity to converse with nurse and or physician in the hallway or sometimes I had to wait outside hallway prior to physician going into the room and explain my concerns. Is it sneaky, YES.. but it worked.. This was the early stages of many "battles" with my mom. Hang in there and do not give up since you know your mom more than anyone else..
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to slp1684

I have learned much on this site. Especially from caregivers questions & comments. Thank you. It's my first time " jumping in?" I related with "Called my mothers dr. Ugh" , in a big way. Being care giver to my husband ( vascular dementia) for almost five yrs. I have dealt with many Drs. , DAs, receptionists, hospital staffs etc. Prayed for and learned to be bold, ask questions and learn as much as I can about this desease/condition. My saving grace was that my husband & I prepared POAs & what our wishes are many yrs. ago. Yes copies of his POA have been requested and had to be sent to various places. I believe everybody should prepare these while we are all lucid and healthy. Now I am privy to all of his information and no one will treat him without me being present. Although not easy, all decisions now fall on me. As a woman of faith I rely strongly on prayer because without His grace I could buckle.
So to Ugh I offer prayers. May you be granted boldness, strength and the means that quietly and patiently demand, yes demand to speak with someone above any one that is rude, condescending or belittles you!
Your mother IS important as are you. It's not all about us knowing that these people deal with many patients but that is not an excuse we should except. As a senior (76 yrs. old) I see especially seniors, agree with anything they are told they need, what & how to do it. Age does not = stupidity! I wish you better days and leave with a funny story? I took my husband for an eye exam, a young lady calls him in saying his name in a very loud voice. He rose and said " I'm old not deaf!" 👍🏼 His hungry now, gots to go.
God bless.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to Nanabinx

The "gatekeepers" to the doctor seem to be so common they are almost a stereotype and often the doctors seem to be oblivious to how difficult they make their patient's lives. I agree with CM, a "personal and confidential" letter to the MD if you can't get him/her on the phone, or perhaps you can book an appt to talk face to face..
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to cwillie
Countrymouse Nov 1, 2018
My mother always called them "dragons" - like it was a job title!
If your mom gets violent with you call 911 - she will be Baker Acted and possibly then at the hospital get the treatment and assessment she needs.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to Kimber166
Shell38314 Nov 1, 2018
That is my plan. Thank you!
My thought would have been not to talk to the receptionist as they usually have no medical knowledge but to ask to speak to the Dr's nurse and let her tell the Dr. You will not be breaking any HIPPA laws, you are just passing on your concerns. Now the nurse can't actually tell you anything about your mother but she can certainly talk to the Dr.
Good luck if Mom is explosive it will probably light a fuse if she finds out.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Veronica91

I agree with Veronica. There is usually a Nurse in charge. I guess u don't have POA. I have come to the conclusion that if we are asked to care for a LO, u don't agree to it until a POA is in place.

I would write a letter to the doctor about the receptionist. She is the first person you talk to and should be more sympathetic to your concerns. I have been a receptionist and know what is expected. I have told a doctor that it would be nice if the receptionist could at least smile. I had one who didn't even acknowledge me until I said something. I stayed with a Dentist not so much because I liked him but because I liked his staff.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to JoAnn29
Shell38314 Nov 1, 2018
My mother does have POA'S, but a dr needs to sign them. Which it doesn't matter because my mother hid them from me. I have been looking for them. Thank you for your thoughts.
I have worked as a MOA and this woman’s behaviour is out of line. If there is an office manager I would call and speak with them. If not a letter to the doctor marked personal and confidential outlining her behaviour and your concerns should be sent.

A second letter with your concerns about your mother should be sent marked personal and confidential. You should not have to send this second letter, the receptionist should have done as you requested and put a note with your concerns in the chart.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Tothill

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