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I’d like to thank you in advance for listening and providing advice.


3 months ago my Mother in Law -59 years old (who then lived in Chicago) had a psychiatric episode which left her unable to follow simple directions, communicate, bath and sometimes feed herself. At that time we made the decision to move her to where we reside (Milwaukee, WI).


Initially she was in the hospital for 3 weeks and was released into our care. At home she was doing well (for her) and we felt optimistic. During this time, she was in a day program for mental health and seeing doctors regularly. 5-6 weeks later the doctor unexpectedly took her off Ativan and we saw a quick decline, causing her to be readmitted into the psychiatric hospital for a month.


At the hospital they are bathing her, cutting her food and have her in a soft food diet (due to her choking for unexplained reasons-a throat study was done). The hospital is now pushing for discharge and we are not comfortable bringing her home (we have a baby due in 8 weeks, 2 year old, and 15 year old and both work Full time and live in a 1200 square foot house and do not feel like we can safely or conveniently take care of her given our other responsibilities, especially because she can’t be left alone it sounds like.


We have seen her go through ups and downs (sometimes shaky and nervous sometimes great, communicating and seeming somewhat independent. For example, yesterday she ate, was happy and communicated well and even asked if her SSDI check came. We prepped her that she couldn’t come home with us (she didn’t like this because she’d like to stay with us for free) and that in the morning someone would be coming to assess her for housing. The next day, she woke up, showered and went to her group therapy. An hour later, the group home assessor came and she refused to get out of bed, slurred her words and couldn’t answer simple questions. Needless to say, this was the 2nd group home that denied her. I then called the nurse and tech and they said she was fine, telling them what she needs help with and making requests. After the assessor left, she went to group and ate lunch.


I talked to 5-6 nursing homes who won’t take her because of the mental health.


At this stage, it looks like we will have to bring her home, attempt to stabilize her and and attempt to get her housing, but we are not sure if that’s in the foreseeable future.


Has as anyone dealt with being denied housing for a mental health condition and if so, what solution(s) did you find? P.S. we have multiple case workers through crisis management, elderly and disabled and a Community Care program that are not being helpful.

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Dear Hospital, we are sorry for MIL's health conditions but her care needs are too great for us & we cannot offer her accomodation, either long term or temporarily. We do intend to support MIL though this period of change & trust your Social Worker can locate the appropriate housing. Thank you.
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You have no legal or moral obligation to house her.

She isn't "homeless". She cannot be cared for in your home because that would not be a safe discharge. (Keep saying those words...unsafe discharge)..

You have not the capacity nor the obligation to care for her. Your first obligation is to the safety and care of your children.

Just say " no, we cant possibly house her."
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Please, leave her at the hospital. The social workers there WILL find her a place. She is not homeless. She needs to be in a care facility. Not in your home. Pay no mind to hospital staff trying to get you to take MIL home. They tried that with my FIL, when he had a chest tube, feeding tube, catheter and on oxygen! He clearly needed to be in a skilled nursing facility but they kept pressuring us to take him home even though no one was a)qualified to provide the level of care he needed and b)in a position to leave their job to take care of him. They eventually found him a bed in a rehab facility but he was too sick to rehab and when we still wouldn’t take him home, the rehab sent him to the ER with “pneumonia”, which he didn’t have. This 3 months after they started trying to get us to take him home. If you stay strong and keep telling them there is no one to take care of her, they WILL find her a bed somewhere.

Of course your husband is upset and thinks she’s homeless. You’ve got to be the voice of reason here and try to make him understand that she needs a level of care that cannot be provided by him, or you. It cannot be provided in your home either.
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If she is not fit for the crisis housing they normally transition them to, she is certainly not fit to be supervised at a lesser level in your home. That would be an unsafe discharge on their part. Please listen to us and follow through. Do not take her home. The hospital needs to keep her in a psychiatric facility and work to get her stabilized and then transition her from there.
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Tell them that she doesn't have a place to live. Yes, the hospital and staff will stoop to low levels to get out of doing their jobs. That doesn't make it your responsibility, especially when you have been told you have no authority with her meds.

Tell you hubby that as difficult as it is, it is so much better to provide a safe, loving environment for his children.

Your MILs actions show that she is manipulating the situation to get her own way, free room and board at your house. She isn't stupid and she will do whatever she can to get what she wants.

I am sorry that you are facing this challenge with a new blessing soon to arrive and the two you already enjoy.

Encourage your dear husband to do what he needs to do to ensure she gets a place to call home, that is not at your house. It is okay that you guys need to take care of your family first and not buy into her manipulation tactics. Keep telling him this until he believes it.
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I believe that you really should not even consider bringing MIL into your home.  The fact is she needs professional help - which you are simply not qualified to give, especially in your family circumstances.  I cannot imagine this as any more than a very temporary "fix" - but since she is in the hospital, she IS temporarily in the safest place she could be.  Why change that? Unless social workers get busy and do their jobs which is a workable long-term placement, which your home is NOT.  Your husband may feel bad, but it is not cruel but only realistic to try to get a solution that will work and MIL the treatment she needs. Bringing her to your home is truly not in her best interest, nor is it in yours.  It sounds like the social workers you are involved with really want to just locate their problem somewhere else - maybe if they see that you are not going to bring her into your home, they will have to buckle down and work out some kind of solution. The thing here is to act in MIL's best interests, not the social workers' convenience. And the fact that "she is your mother" in a sense is meaningless when you cannot help her mental health because you are not the professionals she needs.
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if you are going to take her home, putting your children in danger....CPS will most likely remove those children from the home...& they will be in foster care. Here’s hoping you make the smart decision & tell hospital that it would be an UNSAFE DISCHARGE to bring her into your home. Hugs 🤗
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Thank you all! The info you’ve provided has been really helpful. It is hard at times to have a strong backbone and not feel guilty or like we’re playing games with the system (although they seem to play their own games for their gains).

As of today we got word that the new case worker is working to find housing for my MIL. Luckily she has said that the hospital is not pushing discharge (but we shall see closer to Friday). Hopefully the case work can find her at least respite care until we can move her to a permanent facility because as many of you have stated, if she’s not fit for crisis care how are we supposed to manage her care!).
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Why is it upon you and not the hospital to find housing for her? There are psychiatric social workers at the hospital whose job it is to find housing and programs to fit your Mom into. If you are unable to supervise Mom at home you need to tell them that and refuse discharge to your care.
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Annmilw Oct 1, 2019
The only answer we are getting from
the hospital is she is not fit for the crisis housing they normally transition her to because of her daily care needs. We’ve asked how we are to care for her then and my husband was told “well she is your mother...”. Very frustrating as we really struggle saying she’s homeless and fear that if we will refuse discharge they will not offer her care in the future (unsure if this is a thing they can actually do).

Now we have been told by 2 organizations that she seems over medicated (they stopped Depetko and put her on lithium in addition to Haldol and Ativan) yet the therapist has told us that because we are not her guardian we do not have a say in her medication regimen.
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I just wanted to let everyone know we followed your advice and low and behold, the caseworker and hospital found my MIL a nice group home that we moved her to today. Thank you so much for all of your support and advice!
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