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In March my dad got diagnosed with esophageal cancer. He has went down hill fast. My step mom is his “care taker”, but I don’t feel like she is doing a good job. Here’s why.


He has went through chemo and can barely walk to the bathroom alone. He is super constipated and hasn’t used the bathroom in days. They initially gave him morphine for pain. He has a feeding tube. He had an allergic reaction to the morphine. His lips were swollen. He tried to tell her that and she complains that she couldn’t tell it was happening. She fusses at him and screams at him if he asks her for anything, a towel etc. when feeding him through his tube she pushes the food or medicine as fast as she can. My dad just sits there and cries all day. And she yells at him for it. The doctor gave him different pain medicine, but it doesn’t seem strong enough. He can’t work and she refuses to work. He asked me to help him sign up for disability etc. but she refuses to give me the paper work that I need. She made the comment the other day that she was going to have my sister come sit with him so she could sleep. But she didn’t cause she was worried she would give him extra pain medicine. He has finished chemo. My step mom packed him up in the car the other day and they drove to North Carolina. She didn’t ask his doctors if he could or not. He gets sick and ends up in the hospital there. She never called me. I found out about it on Facebook. Then I call her to see what they said and she acts like it’s nothing. She literally laughs and acts like it’s completely fine. He had kidney surgery the other day and they put a stent in. He bled at lot today and she laughed at it when I called. We can’t talk to him, nothing. She is also living off “donations” people are giving her. She laughed yesterday cause some woman sent her $200. I can’t handle this. The kidney doctor came back by to see him today and she told me he didn’t tell her anything. I don’t know what to. I have to watch what I say or do because she won’t let me see him if it makes her mad. Please help!

Call Adult Protective Services. Is dad on hospice?
Call an elder law attorney, see nelf.org, file for emergency guardianship?
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Reply to gladimhere
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BurntCaregiver Jul 16, 2021
gladimhere,

Definitely call APS. That's a start because the step-mother has become a danger to the father now.
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To answer your question, "Do I have any rights over my Dad's health, even if he is married?"....

No, you do not have any rights over your Dad's health at this time.

I understand how difficult this may be for you, watching what you say or do because Stepmom won't let you see him if you make her mad.

You and your Dad have the rights to associate as family. I suggest you go by his instructions, keep going over there. Call APS when you see him being abused. (Screaming and yelling at a patient is emotional abuse).

How does your sister view the situation? Are you both in agreement that Dad is being abused or neglected?
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Reply to Sendhelp
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Contact Elder Services to report Elder Abuse and Elder at Risk. They will not reveal who made the report although she will probably guess. Despite HIPPA, contact his physicians to alert them. They cannot share info with you, but you can give them this data. As others have suggested, contact an elder care attorney. If he is admitted to the hospital, get social work involved that he is not safe to return to home under her care.

I would not stand up to her or confront her as I believe your father will bear the brunt of her wrath and you will be shut out. It's time for outside intervention to help him as he does not seem able to do it himself.

Sending you all the strength and care that you will need for this battle.
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Reply to Waterspirit
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You can petition for Guardianship.
I think the first step in doing that though would be to contact APS and have them do a "well being check" and you can express your concerns.
But short of getting Guardianship your Step Mom is the one that makes decisions for your dad. That is unless she is found to be putting him in danger, abusing him or other cause that APS might find.
I see in one of your comments to a post that "she said she felt like killing him" this should be reported IMMEDIATELY to APS
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Reply to Grandma1954
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AT1234 Jul 19, 2021
Exactly. Sometimes the filing itself clears the field as they say, especially if there’s a abuse going on.
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Domestic violence is not restricted to acts of hitting or punching, but can be psychological and exploitive "Emotional abuse includes non-physical behaviors that are meant to control, isolate, or frighten you. This may present in romantic relationships as threats, insults, constant monitoring, excessive jealousy, manipulation, humiliation, intimidation, dismissiveness, among others."

https://www.thehotline.org/resources/what-is-emotional-abuse/

Here is a link where you can call for help.
https://www.thehotline.org

Department of Justice link
https://www.justice.gov/ovw/domestic-violence

The only way to secure legal guardianship is through the court system, but the matter needs to be investigated. Please go to the https://www.thehotline.org
link, and talk to somebody, and you can call anytime, any day. They are open 24/7.
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Reply to cetude
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You don't have any rights at all, no. But your Dad does, and they seem to be being ignored.

Report this catalog of abuses and neglect to APS for the locality where your father is now. Highlight to them that your father withheld information from the kidney doctor, so that they can take extra care to interview him sensitively. If your father is still in hospital, you might find a social work team there - just ask at reception if there is anyone you can talk to about adult welfare concerns.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Reminds me of Kasem V Kasem.

Listen to Bitter Blood: Kasem V Kasem by AYR Media on Audible. https://www.audible.com/pd?asin=B096KX1HVZ&source_code=ASSORAP0511160006

His daughter helped implement some laws to help families so this wouldn’t happen, “Kasem founded the Kasem Cares Foundation to establish and fight for the rights to have visitation and reasonable access to an ailing parent, especially when under the care and control of an uncooperative spouse or sibling.”
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Reply to Scapegloat
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You may want to call Adult Protective Services and report your concerns and have them investigate whether or not your Dad is getting proper care from his wife.
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Reply to jklangston
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Your narrative is alarming and upsetting - so many questions. Who has POA? Who is his Health Care Proxy? Try to speak directly to his doctors to get real information on his condition and to voice your concerns about his current care. You're not getting the full picture from your stepmom or your Dad.
Please contact an elder care attorney and get legal advice without delay. You can get ideas here but we are not professionals. Go with your sister and find out what your next steps should be.

In the meantime, can you somehow try to be-friend this shrew and get inside that house alone with your Dad to find out what he really wants? Perhaps tell her you know she is under so much stress being a caretaker and you want to help by giving her a few hours off to do something for herself while you watch Dad. Pay for a massage for her. Earn her trust so you can eventually get in there to access the situation and/or to get papers signed.

As a last resort, surprise barge-in visit with your sister and demand to speak to your Dad alone. If she refuses tell her you will call the police and file a report. Then do it! I know this sounds extreme but I'm sitting here putting myself in your shoes and I know I would go at a person like this full guns - though I admit this is probably the least wise option.

The key here is WHAT DOES YOUR FATHER WANT, who does he want to care for him and most of all is he willing to go against his wife? Just know that any action you choose hinges on the consent of your Dad if he is mentally competent.

I wish you all the best in this heart-breaking situation.
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Reply to NYCmama
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report her for elder abuse and file for guardianship or whatever it takes. do you have POA of any type? get in touch with elder attorney and start filing charges, but ask first if you can take your dad for a ride? if she says yes......take him to your place or somewhere so that he will be safe. i sure wish you luck
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