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I wanted to know if there are laws that could put me at risk as the caregiver of my mother for leaving her alone for an hour to two one day a week. My mother is bedridden and I pay someone to take care of her every weekday and Saturday.


On Sundays I take care of her all day, but at times I need to go to my house which is 3-4 minutes away. She also has hospice service and they come in to bathe her every day, and a nurse from the same hospice service visits three times a week.


Recently, the nurse came in while I was at my house and said that leaving my mother alone is a violation and the next time she would put in a complaint. Is this something they can really do? My mother is not at risk by being by herself for one to two hours. She has a bed with rails and cannot fall off. I have cameras to keep an eye on her while I am not there and like I said, I live 3-4 minutes away. I find it very frustrating to think this is true as how would I even get her stuff from the grocery store when she needs it. Like I said, we always have someone here during the week, but not on Sundays.


Please let me know what are some of you doing with a similar situation. Thank you!

There are bedridden patients everywhere in hospitals and, nursing homes. Many of those are non verbal. What do the nurses and doctors do? Assign someone to sit vigil 24/7 to stare at the patients?

In hospitals and care facilities, when a patient pushes the HELP button to call for help, no nurse or CNA ever comes right away. Usually it takes 15 minutes to 30 minutes for someone to show up. Sometimes, no one shows up at all. Should they be charged with neglect?

I wonder how often the hospital and care facility staff actually check on their patients. Every minute? Every hour? Or every few hours? In between checks, patients fall all the time. I bet some patients choked to death too and no one was there.

I wonder if they should be charged with neglect.
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worriedinCali Oct 5, 2020
Nursing homes catch fire too. 4 people died in a Philadelphia nursing home Fire last year. And there were multiple caregivers on site. This is another time when posters have gone nuclear in their responses. The OPs home is 3-4 minutes away. There’s no reason to think her 76 year old cancer-stricken mother is non-verbal and unable to call for help. OP probably gets to her faster than the staff at a nursing home would. People here act like they were chained to their loved ones side at all times!
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Well apparently I am the only rule beaker here, as when my husband was bedridden for 22 months and under hospice care the entire time, I (being his sole caregiver) had to occasionally leave to run to the store or meet a friend for lunch, or go to the Dr, which of course meant my husband was home alone. Again he was bedridden, so there was no way I had to worry about him getting out of the bed and falling, as he couldn't. I also had security cameras around the house and one specifically in the living room where he was, so I could check on him at any time. I do remember his hospice nurse asking me a couple times who stays with him when I leave, and when I responded no one, she never questioned it or said that I shouldn't/couldn't leave, as she knew it was just me with him. You have to just use your common sense here. Obviously I never left my husband for long, and it sounds like you don't either. I wouldn't get my undies in a bundle if I were you over this. There are so many more important issues I am sure that need your attention. Just keep doing the best you can.

And P.S. and by the way, how in the world did you find a Hospice agency that sends an aide out every day to bathe your mom??? I've never heard of such a thing. My husband got bathed only twice a week while he was under their care, and none during the worst of Covid.(my son and I had to do it )
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First of all the nurse has no right to make threats to you about anything. Second of all, you are in charge of your mother's care. Nursing, social work, nor anyone else has any right to just "pop in" when their schedules permit. Insist that they call first before coming AND that they make a schedule with you for what times they will be coming to your mom's home. Of course this will all have to be arranged during times when it is convenient for YOU to have them visit. Make this known to them and be insistent that they abide by it. Nobody is going to get you in trouble for running back to your house for an hour. You DO NOT have to explain yourself or justify your actions to these people. They will often threaten and treat a family caregiver like you're one of their employees. You are not. You do not work for them. They work for you. If your mom is bedridden then it is fine to leave her alone for short periods of time if you have to. Just don't make it known to the nursing and social work staff who is on her case. it is none of their business and if the nurse wants to run her mouth about getting you in trouble for leaving your mom for an hour, then tell her she can sit there and watch her instead.
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Good grief! Burning to death? Are you serious?? What happens when the bedridden patient weighs more than the caregiver can manage to move, which is usually the case because the person is dead weight??? Is the caregiver expected to die of smoke inhalation trying to get the patient out of the fire???? Where do some of you dream up these scenarios????? And for what purpose??????
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AlvaDeer Oct 5, 2020
You would feel the same I assume about leaving an infant in a crib? If so, no more need to said. As Hailey said, there is no difference. As a nurse I knew of patients who strangled in bed rails and in restraints. It is why we had every 15 minute checks, with sign in sheets, for confused patients. Sorry. Whatever script one can dream up it isn't good to do. Were it "just fine" the question would never come up. Yes, you may not be able to get your elder out in the case of a fire, but you WOULD be there to dial 911, wouldn't you?
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I think the way the nurse treated you was wrong and judgmental. Your mother is on hospice, which means she's accepted that she is going to die. She could die while you prepared lunch, got the mail or took a shower. It is not practicable for you to watch her every single second. And I don't understand those who suggest that you do. You are doing the best you can. Tell the nurse to show you some compassion and keep her threats for people who actually neglect and abuse their elders.
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cherokeegrrl54 Oct 5, 2020
Love the last sentence!!! I wonder when people make those kind of statements, if they have EVER had to care for their elders....if so, i dont think they would be so judgmental!!!
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First, for those that are bashing this poor woman, scolding her, shame on you! ! She is crying out for help NOT criticism!
You, my dear, are doing the best you can and sounds like you are doing a great job! Installing cameras, the anxiety of running that errand, YES, you do care very much!
Consider a different hospice, after that they should be fired! The new hospice I have for my mom is night and day difference. One week they told me mom needs 24/7 care, the next week, because she could barely wobble to the toilet she no longer qualifies. Came in and cut her off. Then I get a call from protective services. A week later mom is diagnosed with lung cancer. I may ask, why is mom bedridden? Does this hospice have her "morphed" out already?
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AlvaDeer Oct 5, 2020
No one is scolding. If anything, those who feel it is OK to leave a helpless person alone are scolding those who do not think that is OK. The OP asked a question. She is getting answers. The answers are fairly evenly divided as to whether several hour alone is acceptable for a helpless elder. She will be able to read the answers, all well meaning and concerned, and make her own decision.
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After reading all the comments on this thread, i know from first hand experience that in hospitals or nursing homes, even inpatient hospice, that the patients are left alone. Unless the family can afford to hire 24 hour caregivers.....and im only speaking of a patient that is totally bedridden like the OP states. Obviously this OP loves and cares for her mother very much or she wouldnt be doing all that she does!
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AlvaDeer Oct 5, 2020
No one questioned OP's love. What is in question here is, say, for instance, a fire.
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Let me ask a question???

Who would leave an infant in a crib all alone to go run an errand?

"I HOPE NO ONE WOULD."

Guess what? A bedridden person is as helpless as an infant.
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AlvaDeer Oct 5, 2020
I think perhaps more desperate parents than we know, as well as more caring for elders have left home .... worried and left nevertheless. It is perhaps why we are seeing such fury over saying that it isn't OK. I feel for all caregivers. But the question was asked. And I think the answer is that it isn't OK. The questioner suspected as much, or the question would never have been asked.
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Consider this scenario which happens everyday everywhere. A mom pulls into a gas station. Inside her car is a baby sleeping in a car seat. She has one or two toddlers who get out with her to go inside the gas station to use the restroom. She herself needs to use the restroom, too, and also needs to pay for gas and buy some snack. She leaves the baby inside the car alone for during that time or with another kid with the baby. Yes, windows down if on a hot day.

Here's another scene. A exhausted, sleep deprived mother finally gets her baby to sleep. She has to shower, takes the trash out, cooks dinner, does the laundry, then maybe collapses into a comalike sleep. While she's doing all those things and sleeping, she can't and doesn't have time to watch the baby.

Here's another scene. A busy daycare center with two care attendants with about 12 kids. Both are busy with the other 11 kids. An infant in the backroom has been crying for 30 minutes. It'll be another hour or two before an attendant can go back to change and feed the baby.

Those who say they never leave a baby alone either forgot what it was like to take care of a baby and having millions of other things going at once, or they never had children.
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mollymoose Oct 8, 2020
All mothers cook, shower, do household chores while their baby is sleeping. The point is the mother is there if there is a fire or other emergency. Same with a baby in daycare, workers are there even if they may be slow tending to needs.

All mothers do NOT leave their babies in cars while they get gas, etc.
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There is a big difference between a baby and a bedridden adult. Thought we all knew this? But again some love the dramatics and go nuclear every chance they get. I think it’s sad the OP has been treated like a horrible person for leaving her mother alone for a hour. Again I say, you all act like you stay chained to the person you are caring for. Like they are never out of your sight.
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NYDaughterInLaw Oct 17, 2020
Exactly, Worried! OP has cameras in her mother's home to monitor the situation. Some cameras have this nifty invention called A-U-D-I-O and so she would be able to H-E-A-R a smoke detector going off and then pick up her phone and do this neat thing with her finger that some still refer to as dialing 9-1-1. Then, the big red fire engines come a honking and big strong men rescue those who cannot get out themselves.

I appreciated your "...you all act like you stay chained to the person you are caring for.." and agree with you.

This forum is getting to be too much for me. I've cutback how often I visit.
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