How can I get my uncle to stay in the hospital until he is better?

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My uncle is not in good shape, he is a nearly lifelong heavy smoker/drinker and now with both pneumonia and COPD and 64 years old. In the past two and a half weeks he has been to the hospital twice, saying he had pain on the right side of his chest. Both times he has gotten impatient in the hospital and discharged himself after a few days, where he comes home (we live together) and naps on/off until he has had to go back. Since we live together, I've been trying so hard to get him to go back to the hospital until THEY discharge him, but he is absolutely stubborn and will not listen to me at all. In the hospital the first few days I visited him and he seemed like a different person and promised me he would stay, but when he gets out it's a different story :( I'm at the end of my rope and not sure what to do. It's scary when he's home because he just sleeps, and I'm so scared he will deteriorate and eventually pass because it seems like he will not get help and take care of himself. Is there anything I can do as his niece to get him to STAY in the hospital and have him not be able to discharge himself until he is fit to be?

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SueC1957: [ In any case, unless he's demented, you can't force him to do anything he doesn't want to do. Do you really think the threat of having to pay a hospital bill will make him stop? ]

That is true. Lying to him about benefits will likely only make him distrust you more.

Even if he is only slightly demented, procuring guardianship by declaring him to have "lack of capacity" is very very very difficult.

A person can have signs of dementia but a court will still deem him capable of making his own life decisions and paying his bills, etc.

Lastly, if you become to pushy and he complains to someone else, adult protective services may start investigating you for elder abuse.

So proceed with caution, if he is objecting vehemently to your help.
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Reply to Heather10
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Mzyg,
You didn't mention if he still actively drinks. I'll bet he does whether it's secretly or out in the open.
It would make sense that he wants to go home after a couple of days.......he needs a drink. Just a thought.

My first experience as a young nurse in the hospital with an alcoholic scared me to death. No one reported he was an alcoholic and so nothing was done to "calm" what became the DT's (delirium tremons or withdrawal).  It was an unnerving experience.

In any case, unless he's demented, you can't force him to do anything he doesn't want to do. Do you really think the threat of having to pay a hospital bill will make him stop?

My dad was an alcoholic too and, as long as he had his "bottle", he didn't care about anything. He'd let the doctors patch him up then   he'd go right back to drinking,

I'm sorry for you. There's no quality of life when you live with a boozer. They have a mindset of their own and their only love is alcohol.

Make sure you take care of yourself. Your uncle has his own agenda and is on a course of self destruction. Don't go along with him.
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Reply to SueC1957
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He is 64 so no Medicare but his insurance may not pay if he leaves without being discharged by a doctor. He will owe big bucks. Really not too much you can do. I assume he owns the house? If not, then tell the Social Worker you refuse to take him back until he is cleared by a doctor. And make sure he understands that. Hard to deal with stubborn.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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mzyg0722, you could try using a "theraputic fib" to get your Uncle to stay in the hospital the next time.

One thing you can say that if he had already checked himself out more than once from the hospital then Medicare nor his secondary insurance will not pay for any hospital costs for the same medical complaint.... he would have to pay from his own pocket.
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Reply to freqflyer
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There's nothing you can do to make him stay in the hospital. He's an adult and you didn't mention any dementia which means he can make his own decisions even if they're bad ones.

You can try sharing with him how you feel. Or, the next time he gets pains, tell him you won't take him to the hospital since you know he won't stay. It's a heavy-handed approach.

Doesn't his insurance refuse to pay for his hospital stays when he checks himself out?
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Reply to Eyerishlass
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Great advice, shakingdustoff.
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Reply to smeshque
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