I believe my dad has some form of dementia. I'm trying to get help for him but I've run into several obstacles. First, dad gets very defensive when we tell him that the things he tells us when he is delusional are not happening. He refuses to accept that they are not real and isn't willing to discuss the fact that he needs to see a doctor. We got lucky recently and dad finally agreed to see a doctor when he was feeling so dizzy he could hardly walk.
The second obstacle I’m running into is his doctor. I called the doctor's office before we went and explained to the nurse what was going on and asked if the doctor could evaluate him but warned her that he might get defensive about it. Well, dad opened up and told the doctor about one of his delusions. He calls it "The Dark Days" He described to her how God had messed up and the sun wasn't coming out until the middle of the afternoon for two whole months. I thought surly the doctor would know something was wrong once she heard it with her own ears. So at the risk of upsetting my dad I went ahead and described how he was having delusions, was paranoid, kept losing things, was having difficulty with his finances, etc. etc.
I asked his doctor if she thought it could be dementia or if it could have been a stroke. She asked my dad to walk down the hallway for her so she could observe him walking. Dad very slowly shuffled down the hall and back for her. She then asked him several questions to test his short term memory and he answered most of them wrong. She looked at me and said "He's not that bad." She did at least agree to do an MRI to rule out a stroke. She ordered the MRI and I took dad to the hospital for the scan.
We didn't hear from the doctor after 48 hours as was promised. It took nearly three weeks of me calling and leaving messages before I was finally able to talk to the doctor's nurse. All the nurse would tell me was that the MRI looked normal. I asked if we could discuss whether she thinks dad has dementia. The nurse told me that they legally are not allowed to discuss dad's medical details with me. If dad wanted to know he could make an appointment and I could tag along. I reminded them that I have Power of Attorney (both medical and financial) for dad. Dad has also signed HIPPA document with doctor allowing me to discuss and request his medical records. She said it doesn't matter they won't discuss it with me.
So I actually have two questions. First, how can this doctor tell me she can’t discuss dad’s medical issues with me if I have POA and when she has the HIPPA forms that dad has signed?
Second, should I even waste my time with her? This doctor is a Family Practice OD. However, according to the other doctors in the clinic she’s supposedly the “expert” on dementia. There are no geriatric doctors in the town where dad lives. I can take him to another city but it’s going to be an even bigger challenge to get him to agree to it. Still, if his own doctor is unwilling or unqualified I’m worried I’m wasting our time.
Any advice is appreciated.