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My mom is married and living with her husband, who is sick with cancer. As her health has declined, she needs more attention, he is not capable of giving it to her. My sister called me over to their house because the smell was horrifying, we spent hours cleaning, and came back two days later to the same smell. He is incapable of caring for my mother who has a very hard time getting around. Also she is bleeding from down there and will not let anyone look at it or clean it. She is unable to do so herself. Her husband wants her to go to the hospital, says she can't stay there. He cannot take it anymore. She does not want to go to the hospital, wants to die at home. We are not sure that she is dying, as she won't go to hospital. Five years ago, she signed medical POA to me while she was hospitalized. To my knowledge, there is no other one. Can I go there and take my mom to my house for care? Which would include a trip to urgent care to investigate the bleeding, whether she liked it or not. I have the room and ability to care for her much easier than her husband but he hates me. Hates the thought of me doing something he cannot. We have never gotten along. When I brought up the subject he got very angry. I suspect they are both abusing pain meds as well. I have no idea what I can legally do. What I want is to respect her wishes.

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Please update us on how things go.
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liltonysmom Jun 8, 2021
Okay, here is an update. her husband sent her here without her pain meds ( which i believe they are both addicted to) he has been feeding her placebo for over a month of ibuprofen. which is why she was bleeding so much, as it is a blood thinner. i stopped that immediately. she is no longer bleeding from her rectum. i have had to deal with her withdrawal symptoms from the pain meds, which is exhausting. overall, she is already healthier than when she came here. she has appts for rectal surgery to correct the prolapse, which will ease most of her discomfort. she also shows signs of memory loss, forgetfulness, and anxiety. thank you all for your input.
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update.... we found out that she has a rectal prolapse. an ongoing problem for more than a year. her husband has failed to take her to the doctor properly. the bleeding occurs when her rectum is inflamed. she is moving in to my home on wednesday, and we already have appts lined up for the prolapse. thank you all for your replies. yes i know i might lose my sanity, but thinking about her being left alone at home, while being a fall risk, was already more than i could take.

i believe she has depression, and possibly dementia. hope to find out the facts soon. hopefully being in a normal home without the abuse of her husband will help.
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You can take her to the ER with your POA in hand, explain the situation, that you’re trying to make decisions about what kind of care she needs, possibly hospice, but that she’s going to want to be DNR. It would be good if they could set you up to talk with the palliative care team and a social worker. You can always leave the hospital, you will just have to sign paperwork saying you understand they don’t recommend your leaving if they want to admit her. It’s called leaving AMA(against medical advice).
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If at ALL possible you do not want to take your Mom to your home unless you are set up with all the gear that is going to be necessary -- for her safety and your sanity! Also, she may whine and cry to be with Husband anyway, and he'll be mad, which won't help anything.
Does your Mom or her Husband have a plan of care / end of life plan? You might just start with asking them that, and explain that it will make any emergencies easier to deal with for one or the other of them when (not if) the need arises.
Some elders absolutely refuse to discuss *anything* with anybody (I swear, I wonder sometimes if they even talk to their doctors!) so it may not be easy to initiate that conversation. You could even have one or a couple of suggestions for a plan of care, "What if mom breaks her leg? What's the plan?" And visa versa.

End of life is pretty much the same. Ask them what outfit they want to be buried or displayed or cremated in, or if there's song they want sung or played. Who wants to be laying around getting stiff and cold while their family runs around like chickens with their heads cut off hollering that the sky is falling? Not me! I wanna go play leap frog over cloud-tops!
I lost my parents pretty young -- each of them were about a month shy of age 62. I imagine I would tell them, "We want to be considerate about your final days; let us know what you would plan out, if you were able to do that. We want to be able to help you through those days, without stressing you out or annoying you with these kinds of questions at that time."
(Ridiculous, I was 11 when my Dad died and I was a hysterical wreck!).
Still... maybe you can appeal to them to consider maintaining the easiest solution for the surviving spouse.
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Do NOT take her into your home unless she goes to hospital for a complete medical workup and also sounds like she would need geripsychiatric eval as well. She may have a life ending diagnosis then can be placed in hospice care in your home if you wish. You will need a team of round the clock ppl to help you as well. Hope you can get her to the hospital for diagnosis and medical intervention.
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OP's first answer says that mother is an alcoholic. This could well be the reason for refusing to go to hospital - no alcohol. Pain drug addiction could be a reason too - no access in hospital. If you want 'to respect her wishes', try to ask if she wants to die, or if it's related to hospital itself.
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liltonysmom May 12, 2021
yes that is what i always thought as well. that her reluctance was because she would not be able to abuse alcohol or meds. her mother died alone in a hospital when she was young. which gave her an irrational fear of them.
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If you have access to her bottles of pain meds, you might be able to learn the names of the prescribing doctors. I say "might" because sometimes one doctor's name is used in prescribing from more than one doctor in the same office.

Re urgent care, as someone else has written, they're not equipped to deal with this kind of situation. If she needs intravenous antibiotics, among other things, you may not be able to care for her at home, either. If she goes to the ER and they want to admit her, you can always decline admission. If she has Medicare and declines admission, Medicare will still pay for the ER visit. If she is admitted and decides to go into the hospital, she will always have the option of leaving AMA. However, if she is found to be terminal while in the hospital, she should also have the option of choosing to go home to die and requesting a regular discharge. Many people don't want to die in the hospital!

If she is deemed to be terminal within the next 6 months, she could choose home hospice if she can have full-time caregivers at home. I realize her husband is going to try to interfere, but I believe her medical POA--you--should have most of the decision-making authority depending on the exact wording of the POA.

DNR status should not be involved here. DNR involves resuscitation after apparent death. If she has advance directives, she normally would have specified there when she did/did not want life-extending/life-saving measures.

I hope this helps a little. Hugs!
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liltonysmom May 12, 2021
thank you for the suggestion, i will check the bottles for doctor names. also we found papers from her stay at a nursing home last year. apparently she has an anal prolapse. her husband just has not made her go to the hospital for it. also abnormalities in the lung xray. neither of these things have been looked at. thank you for your reply. it was informative. i believe i have talked her in to moving into my house, so i can control the doctor appts. and medicine. apparently she has been living with this prolapse for over a year. this is something that can be fixed with surgery. she has been starving herself over the fear of going to the bathroom. i believe bringing her to my house and taking care of the prolapse will help her tremendously.
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Does your mother WANT to know what is wrong?

Is she able to speak for herself if EMTs come to her home?

Urgent care will most likely call an ambulance and send her to the ER.

Can you show up at her home with your POA papers and tell EMTs that you want mom transported to the ER?
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liltonysmom May 10, 2021
she has no desire to know what is wrong. just wants to go. she is tired. she can speak, but does not know what day it is, or how long she has lived at her current address, which is over three years now. i can go to her home with POA papers, but i dont want to force her to go to hospital. can i go with papers, and bring her to my house? where i can care for her and get whatever help i can medically. at this point, her husband will not give us even a name of a doctor for her. i am concerned that whatever is bleeding is not life threatening, if treated. but left alone will cause death. she wants to just be left alone. POA contains DNR. does that apply here? i have no idea what to do
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You need to read the POA that mom signed to see if it became effective immediately, covers medical treatment and is still in force.

If you called 911 to have the EMTs investigatecher physical condition, what do you imagine might happen?

It doesn't sound like she can be cared for in anyone's home right now.

She needs to be in a hospital so that they can run tests to discover the source of the bleeding and stop the sel-neglect.
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liltonysmom May 10, 2021
POA was effective immediately, yes and is for health care. it was signed in the hospital. if 911 came, stepfather would lie to them and send them away. she believes she is dying and does not want to do it in a nursing home. she is very much afraid of walking into the hospital and not coming out. that was the thought behind urgent care. they can tell me if it is something that is life threatening so i can make an informed decision.
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Urgent care will not be able to do anythung for her. She needs a hospital and probably Hospice.
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liltonysmom May 10, 2021
if she is going to go, she does not want to do it in a hospital. if i take her to an emergency room, do i have the authority to decline services and leave
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Consider calling Adult Protective Services and reporting her as a vulnerable adult who is in need of care.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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How about you call mom's doctor and ask advice?

Or call a hospice organization and ask them to send someone out to talk to her about her condition?
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liltonysmom May 10, 2021
i have no idea who her doctor is. everytime a medical event happens, she is at a different hospital. from what i understand she is flagged, because of the pain meds. beyond that, she is extremely stubborn, as well as an alcoholic. she has never been honest with the doctors about why she has fallen and hurt herself
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