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My dad is in hospice. I live 300 miles away and unable to get information on the phone. My stepmom is POA, and is keeping the family from gathering any information unless we go through her. I do not want to make my dad's last days in discord, I only want to be able to call Hospice and get updates. Is this possible without a long drawn out ugly process?

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When my Dad died suddenly in his sleep Mom & I were are a loss on where to start his Obit. We found something he had pulled together when he retired a few years earlier and used that for all his work, political, service organization and military history. We only needed to add family information. The funeral director told us it was one of the best he had seen. Shortly after that Mom & I sat down and wrote down all the information she wanted included in hers and when the time came 11 years later I just had to again update family information. On the reverse side when my husband’s brother recently passed after a brief battle with cancer they had to start from scratch the result was his wife, son and sister tossing information at the funeral director and him filling out a form that he submitted. One of the most poorly written obits I’ve ever seen. As my husband & I are now approaching Senior Status I think it’s time we sat down and wrote something out so when the time come our son will not have to wonder how we want to be remembered.
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Luckyblue: You're welcome.
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Thank you to all for your input. Greatly appreciated.
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The facility has to add your name to the approved list of contacts for the patient.
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If your father is of sound mind then I don't see why his verbal approval/wishes can't override the POA. My parents' POA went into effect - only if they were unable to communicate their wishes. Can you review the POA? Go over the POA with the staff administrator. If you need to take a day off to go in-person to straighten all this out, then you should consider this.
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300 miles is just a longish rambling Sunday drive for the hubs and me....better get your boots on the ground and MEET the hospice director, so they can put a face to a name. Your stepmom is probably overwhelmed by what is going on. Talk to her, try to smooth things over and make your dad's last days pleasant. No bickering relatives, for goodness sake!
We wrote daddy's obit before he died. That's not unusual. And it's sad, but also not unusual that stepmoms get all of dad's inheritance. I hope she will at least allow you to have some of your dad's things for mementoes.
As far as being written out of the obit--write your own and publish it, if it means a lot to you to be "recognized" as dad's surviving kids. No law against 2 obits.

Money is just money--and if people would stop looking at their aging parents like vultures....life would be more pleasant for all. Though, I am sure, that has to sting.

For the record, not everybody grieves the way you think they should. My mother shed not one tear for my daddy. I've never seen her be emotional about his death at all. Her father, who died 54 years ago? She cries a little everyday.

Good Luck.
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I do agree with cwillie that from where you are, 300 miles away would be difficult to get any information. HIPAA laws prohibit them from giving the patient's information. While you may be biting your tongue, I would suggest fly to see your dad but make sure you let your stepmom know that you are coming out of concern.
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It would be hard for me if I was in your shoes. From the other side, where I am POA of Mother's Health Care, My brother and cousin butted in when Mother was in Independent Living in a rogue facility. With my brother and cousin communicating with them, the butted in and took the facilities side after the facility injured Mother. They did not leave us alone after I nursed Mom back to Health from the initial injury in a "Care" program." It was the injury in forced Physical Therapy in her first day in the Intensive "Care" program (which was against the Dr.'s orders to mandate PT} or the mandatory forced shower by NAs the day after the injury when Mother already showered by herself that day. Between the pain and 2nd shower, It totally exhausted her. I stayed with Mother, that night I found Mother on the floor in her bedroom unconscious from her fall. It was the beginning of a long saga of sickness and further injuries with the facility, brother and cousin calling the shots. Brother who does not call except for a few times a year and spends 45 minutes every few years when he is visiting others in our home town. Cousin spoke or saw very little of Mother or myself, a few lunches but he is older himself and can't hear Mother and Mother can't hear him. He didn't know or care what she thought or felt. She was getting back on her feet with me Nursing and Caring for her in her I.L. Apartment when the facility with support from Bro and Cous's approval forced her into Personal Care(Hell Hole) in July of 2016. Mother was subject to negligence and abuse by the facility that left her close to blind and dead. I got through this with support from Aging Care and followed through with advice as given. After I called every agency suggested and made complaints to the Caregiver Support Group at the facility and hired an attorney, . . .. My hours were cut drastically. My son stepped in, told the facility we were moving Mother to another facility. We were blessed to have got Mother out alive and with her Glaucoma that rose to a severe stage is now stabilized. The Dr, is looking to a lazer procedure down the line. Mother and I have a NO Contact order for my Cousin at the facility. For sure my sister-in-law wanted me out of Mother's life over concerns about money and the modest sum I was receiving for 24 x 7 for Caregiving.  We went through a fortune in a short-time that Mother was in so unstable Personal Care and I had my hours cut.  In the new(heavenly facility) My son and his wife stay with Mother while I go to Church and go to Choir Practice. Mother is going to be 100 in October. She has come back a long way since our move in January 2017 but still is in a wheel chair for meals. Her short term memory is better than it had been. Although you are angry, hear from the other side. In a dysfunctional family when there is a fight or rift, loved ones suffer. Look at "dysfunctional families, " postings on Aging Care. There are approximately 25,000 replies online from Caregivers. Often loved ones suffer or die when there is a rift in the family. Try to go through the Caregiver if that is what they ask of you and if you are aware of foul play call the police or a govt agency. I tried a social worker at the rogue facility and during a Hospital visit and they were solidly prejudiced against Mother and myself. Politics can defy reason. Ask for God's help. Let your loved one know you love them and respect the Caregiver. If the Step Mother gets all the money let her know how happy you are for her that he has taken care of her needs. That she has been a good wife. Try to turn things around with her if she is insecure. My Mother's second husbands children will be at her 100th birthday party. My father died in his early 50's and Mack died in 2012. Mother had two great husbands. Our lives have been enriched by Mother's second family.
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300 miles isn't that far these days. You can visit in person and get things straightened out. That may be the easiest thing to do.
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Try to let go of your negative feelings about your stepmom having written out your dad's obit. Writing an obit takes time and thought. It is a painful process when the person is still living. I didn't shed a tear while my husband -- father of my stepchildren -- was dying under hospice care. All my energies were directed toward his comfort and consoling my stepchildren.
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Contact Hospice and talk to the Social Worker that is involved she or he can try to "pave a way" that will allow you to get information. But they can not give you any without consent due to HIPAA laws.
There is a fairly new program that the Hospice I know of uses that might help it is called Tap Cloud. With this program via a smart phone or computer everyone in the family can contact Hospice and ask questions and pretty much see ow things are going.
Bottom line is though without your name being on the papers that give them permission to give you information they can not tell you anything. The can not even tell you if he is on Hospice.
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An RN is not the highest person on the totem pole, I would be contacting the administrator and explaining the situation. Your dad's wishes should be respected, insist on it.
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My dad is still able to make his wishes known. He gave verbal consent to the Assisted Living RN for me and my brother to be on the list to receive info. She overrode his wishes the next day and had us taken off. Her 2 kids, (adults when Dad married her) are on the information list. Lots of bad history, she doesn't like us and vice-versa. Me and my brother have bitten our tongues for years out of respect for Dad. She doesn't stay with my dad because he's in an Assisted Living and has hospice come in, so she gets breaks when needed. She's made out the Obit already, and I have not seen her shed a tear yet. She will become Very Financially stable upon my dad's death, so it's not surprising my brother and I question her. Her kids, before marriage, are on the list. I'm a RN, so that plays into this as well. I don't want my Dad to suffer family discord his last days. I only want to be able to call and check on him every few days or so.
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I agree with cwillie above. I remember when both of my parents were recently on Hospice care, I was the only contact person. It was up to me to contact others.

Luckyblue, your StepMom probably isn't keeping everyone up-to-date because she is very upset that she is losing the love of her life. This isn't how she envisioned retirement with your Dad. It's not easy calling relatives as it becomes so very emotional. Find out which family member she has been calling, and get information from them.

Or if you can, drive or fly out to see Dad and Step-Mom, ask her if there is anything you can do, like sit in for her while gets away for a hour or so she can take a break.
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It is not uncommon for any healthcare institution to limit their contact to one person because otherwise they could be on the phone half the day updating concerned relatives. There is also the issue that they must abide by HIPAA regulations to protect their resident's privacy. Is your dad still able to make his wishes known? If so you could ask the social worker to get his verbal consent to speak with you.
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Dear Luckyblue,

I'm so sorry, I know this is an extremely difficult situation. Even though your stepmom is the POA, don't hesitate to call the hospice directly and see if there is social worker that can help.
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