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Last year my husband suffered a stroke and lost more than 25% of his ft brain. He moved his mom in with us 5 years ago and not by my choice. We almost were divorced over it. We moved into another home for her and he worked like a dog to pay for everything. When his stroke hit we lost all our income and then just like that I was caring for him and FORCED to care for her. Changing 2 adult diapers. I was advised multiple times that I needed to call SS or call an ambulance to come get her. Finally one day realising I could no longer pay for food ( I can't work due to having to be home 24/7 ) Having my boy cry cause he was hungry that I just could no longer do this. She was sick and needed care and we called an ambulance. They wanted to send her home 3 days later and I removed myself from any correspondence regarding her. I have my husband talk to anyone and explain that I was NEVER her caregiver I only helped and that he could not take care of her and that his brother needed to step in, who is single no children and able. I AM SCARED out of my mind that something terrible is going to happen to us. That the hospital or SS will MAKE me take her back. I just can't! I have to get a job, she's not my mom. I have children. My husband will be going to a SNF soon for awhile while if not permanently. Do I have any responsibility to this woman according to the law?

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No, you tell the Social worker or whomever, that you have enough on ur plate and cannot take care of her. If she is in a SNF they cannot release her to an unsafe discharge, which yours will be. Because, you need to work. If BIL will not or cannot take on the responsibility, then she stays in the Nursing facility with him being involved or the State takes guardianship. No one can "make" you take her.

You should never go without food. There are food closets and Churches that could help with this. I suggest you go to your Social Service dept and see if there are resources available to you. Food stamps for one.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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No, you really don't have. You should continue to say that you cannot accept her into your home, that her caregiver, your husband, has now had a stroke and will be himself moving into a SNF now. They may ask you to apply for emergency guardianship or some such. Simply tell them they will have to ask the State to accept guardianship of your MIL, that you are stretched was past your limit. Talking to them is fine, simply do not agree to any of their nonsense such as "We will help you; take her back home and we will get you help; we can make this work". They cannot make it work and they will not make it work.
Was your husband the POA? Is he currently mentally able? You may need an Elder Law Attorney visit to your home; he may need to resign his POA for his Mom. I am uncertain about all that, and all States vary, which is why professional advice, though costly, can be invaluable.
My heart aches for you. This is an almost impossible load to bear. I wish you and your hubby good luck, and hope that your MIL will find good placement and care as well. You have done your best. You are the second story on the threads today of a caregiver who has "gone down" under the burden of elder care, while the elder lives on. I am not saying that this caring brought on a stroke; that may have been in the cards in any case; but it is difficult for me to believe that this attempting care doesn't contribute to illness from constant stress.
Hugs. Take it one day at a time. I hope you will update us.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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anrean Sep 14, 2020
AlvaDeer is right that you would benefit from legal advice. Where I live there is free or sliding scale legal advice - both very reputable, but you need to bang down a lot of doors to find them!
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I'm going to preface this by stating I'm a Nurse who used to work in Case Management. So I'm going to keep this factual...

1st the only person who would have any legal authority over your MIL would be 1) herself if she was deemed competent to make medical decisions, 2) If not competent, then a legal guardian or spouse. That's it!!!! So no you don't have a legal responsibility to her.

I'm going to assume she was deemed incompetent & her husband is either incompetent as well or died, hence why she was living you. Basically you need to state to Social Worker/Case Manager that she is an unsafe discharge & you are requesting she be placed in a nursing home. Now in terms of who can make that decision for her depends on what state you live in. I'm in NYS & this decision would go the the Family Decision Making Act, but basically in order of preference (Spouse, Adult Children, Parents, Other Family Members then Close Friends). So again I'm assuming based on this that your BIL is her next family member who should take MORAL responsibility for her. Give the Social Worker/Case Manager his #/Address so they can contact. Hopefully that will be then end of it for you.

BUT if your BIL doesn't step up to the plate, then the Hospital may reach out to you to help with applying for Medicaid, etc...

Yes you can ignore them as you have no legal obligation to her. But keep in mind that "it goes to the state" as another commenter stated is NOT A QUICK PROCESS. It can take months for a Hospital to obtain legal guardianship over your MIL to place her into a nursing home & get Medicaid set up. And it case anyone was living under a rock we are still in the middle of a pandemic in which she would be taking up a needed Hospital bed.

The NICE thing to do would be to help them with any finianls needed to apply & get her placed. No one at the Hospital is going to judge you for not being able to take her back. You have your plate full & its now the BIL moral responsibility to step in.

On a side note if she has plan Medicare & 3 Inpatient nights and a skilled need (physical or occupational therapy need) She can be placed much faster. A managed Medicare (ie, Advantage plan w/Blue Cross, Aetna, etc...) the 3 day requirement is waived. If she already has Medicaid she doesn't require any qualify stay & can be placed. Also if she already had Medicaid the Hospital can bill it while waiting for placement (it pays little, but better then nothing). If she doesn't have Medicaid & deemed medically stable for discharge but no where to go, she would be changed to Custodial Care. This can be challenged by Medicare beneficiaries. But if upheld, the financial burden only goes to MIL's estate. You can not be billed & are not responsible for this debt. In this case I'm assuming her finances are exhausted. This debit will be back billed to Medicaid once obtained.

Hope this helps!!!

-Carol RN
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WWiggins Sep 17, 2020
I'm not sure if it helps her...I believe it should though...but you've definitely helped me! I'm having to deal with something very similar to her situation. So I want to thank you for replying to her.
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Tell them that it is UNSAFE DISCHARGE if she is sent to your home.

No explanation needed. It is UNSAFE to Discharge her to your home.

Repeat as often as needed.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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Tell them about hubby's stroke and current situation where he can no longer care for her because he can't even care for himself right now. Give whoever calls the phone number of the other son and tell them he is next of kin at this point. Refer all phone calls about her care back to the other son. You might also let brother in law know that other arrangements must be made - you have nearly lost his brother, you lost his income and struggling financially, and he will have to make decisions about her care at this point.
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Reply to my2cents
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Your plate if full with your husband. Under no circumstances take your MIL into your home again! Once you do, you are stuck. Hopefully you will get the help you need sooner rather than later. Have you gone to Social Services to get some help with things like food? You may also want to reach out to the Salvation Army and Red Cross to see if they can help or at least point you in the right direction.

There should also be a social worker at the hospital who can help you with placing your MIL into a facility, along with helping you get Social Services that you need for basic survival.
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Reply to anrean
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Others are certainly more qualified to answer legal questions but I wanted to reach out to you for moral support. Of course this is unsettling for you. Anyone would be concerned about their future in your situation.

First of all let me say how sorry that I am about your husband’s stroke. My father had a stroke and he was in a skilled nursing facility for rehabilitation. It really is the best place that your husband can be right now after his stroke.

You have made the right decision regarding your husband. Your priority now lies with your children, not your mother in law and you have stated that you intend on assuming responsibility for your family. I don’t see any other option. You wouldn’t be able to care for a mother in law even if you desired to.

Make whatever arrangements that you need to regarding your mother in law. Do reach out and ask for help from your brother in law but don’t depend on him if he resist helping. Go forth and make the necessary arrangements for her to be cared for. Contact a social worker for guidance. Speak to her doctor for suggestions.

I am not a lawyer but I don’t see how you can be forced to care for her.

I sincerely hope that you can find a viable solution as soon as possible and most of all I hope that your husband will do as well as possible in rehab.

Since you did not agree to your mother in law living in your home make it clear to whomever you speak to about her care that her placement is permanent.

It does sound like you absolutely know your desires and limitations and there is no second guessing involved. This is good that there isn’t any confusion.

If your children are close to their grandmother you can certainly take them to visit her.

Best wishes to you and your family.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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Remember that you may lied to by the hospital or SS...yes, it happens so that they remove themselves from any responsibility for her care. STAND STRONG! And don't believe any "we will help you" promises if you agree to take her home, as AlvaDeer already wrote.

Keep us updated -- we are all rooting for you!
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Reply to CTTN55
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Just a little note about social workers - - they may be EMPLOYED by the hospital because they ARE a social worker, but they are LICENSED through the State. The hospital may encourage them to push a certain desired result, but the bottom line is that the SW must follow the RULES of social work or they could lose their license. The rules don't always match the hospital's wants or needs. That's why you have to use words like "unsafe discharge", and demand to coordinate with a SW who is at risk of losing her or his license if they only follow what the hospital wants them to do.
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Screennamed Sep 17, 2020
Hi CarolLynn, Some U.S. states don't require a social worker to be licensed. It's horrible when an unethical person is employed in a social work position, for sure, when that person acts unethically and even worse when illegally.
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Please talk to social services at the hospital. let them know your situation and that you do not have resources to care for your MIL. They can not force you to take her. They will have her placed somewhere on Medicaid. The reason I suggest talking to social services is that they may also be able to direct you to resources to for your situation with your husband as well.
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