My mother has removed the phone from our fathers nursing home room to isolate him. Is this legal? - AgingCare.com

My mother has removed the phone from our fathers nursing home room to isolate him. Is this legal?

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Our mother lives in our parents house, our father in a care home near by. Our mother wants to isolate our father so he cannot receive calls from my sister and I and relatives who want to call him, whom she has years of bad history but they love our father. She has been diagnosed with control issues and paranoia. I put the phone service and phone in my name but she removed the phone anyway. My sister lives 200 miles away and I live 1500 miles away. The phone is the only way we can communicate with our father, other than quarterly trips to his busing home. Is this legal?

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I imagine this is legal if your mother has the Power Of Attorney, however I'd tell your dad should have it unless it upsets HIM. Ask the administrator for guidance as they've seen many issues. If he or she can't help you, you could check with an elder law attorney.

Good luck to you. Your heart is in the right place. Since your mother has these mental issues, I'm sure an attorney can help you get this taken care of.
Carol
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Since your mother has mental issues it is very possible that she removed the phone for the reason you mention -- to isolate Dad. But more than one caregiver has had a phone removed because the patient was calling them every ten minutes, day and night. What conditions does Dad have? How long has he been in the nursing home?

As Carol suggests, talk to the administrator. See if you can get a clearer picture of what is going on with your Dad, and what alternatives there are for communicating with him.
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Your dad can sign a HIPAA waiver listing with whom his medical condition can be discussed. This does not require POA. Neither as his wife nor as his POA can your mother dictate who the staff can talk to about him, IF he has not been declared incompetent. With mild dementia he probably has not been declared incompetent, right? Ask the staff to talk to Dad about a HIPAA Release Form. Or download one from the internet and send it to him. He can OK them to talk to you and other relatives about his health. Also a doctor who went to such lengths to get Dad away from his mentally ill wife certainly ought to be willing to honor Dad's request to release information to you.

Is there any treatment for M.S.P.? Is Mom getting any help with it? I suggest you see a therapist for a few sessions -- not so much for your personal needs, but to try to figure out how to handle your mother's mental illness for the sake of your father.

It does seem like a change in POA would help. Since mother is constantly "on the brink of death" that should be a logical reason to give her for the change. (Not that logic is always effective with the mentally ill, of course.)

My heart goes out to all of you -- Mother, Dad, and family. This is a very sad and challenging situation.
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You can at least send him cards and letters so he knows you are thinking of him
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Thanks to each of you. Our fathers has light dementia. The doctors put our father in the home as our mother was diagnosed with borderline Münchausen syndrome by proxy. He is surrounded in his town by many of his family members. If our mother knows they are visiting him, she shows up and makes them leave. The aids at the home try to shield visits so she doesn't find out until after they leave. Over the last 8 years in the care home, his health has actually improved. It is a catch 22 situation. She tells him she is very ill and near her death.(again M.S.P) He is worried about her and called her several times a day. It was suggested to her by several people to block his calls and leave the phone open for family and friends to call. We have had many meetings and calls with the administrators, whom are caring people. They are limited what they can tell us due to HIPPA. Our mother will not allow them or the doctor to give us any information. The care givers are at whit's end, but never let our father know of their frustration. We have resisted the legal route do to pressure it would put on our mother, but it seems pretty clear we are facing that path. I think he is mentally capable of changing his power of attorney to one of us, his children. I'll need to figure this out from an attorney. thanks for your comments.
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Jeannegibbs, thanks so much. I didn't know about the HIPPA waiver. This s great news. I'll proceed with the POA direction as well. Therapy is the only treatment for M.S.P. we know of. As you might guess her issues come and go. Trust me, we save every voice mail and letter we get as material to use to get her doctor on our side to help Now comes that question "What do we next?" It seems pretty clear she needs to go to the same same as our father, the staff and we tell her that over and over. Unfortunately until she does something to harm herself, we can't force her. This interaction is wonderful thanks to all of you.
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Please don't even consider for one moment placing your mother in the same facility as your Dad. Even if you manage to prevent them sharing a room she will find ways to make his life a living hell. Staff come and go frequently, they can be persuaded even bribed, don't always listen to instructions, don't agree with them or merely feel sorry for you mother. Not that she will ever voluntarily agree and it is extremely difficult to have someone declared incompetent
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Jasleinstein has the same situation I have. My brother lives many miles away. I have seen this "train wreck" coming for 30 years. He didn't because he lives away and was living his life raising 2 small girls. After our mother started being more sever with our father, my brother got involved and has been a life saver for me. After all these years, I really can't see the "forest for the trees", and he can. He has practical ideas which he has done. Hire a lawyer, get some results, get the Hippa released for us kids. It is amazing that two heads are so much better than one. He thought about stuff I didn't. He has actually done more for us and our Dad than I ever did because he was removed enough that he could. For years I resented him because he wasn't here dealing with it (although I am 3 hrs from dealing with it everyday). Fact is, his distance is what gives me ideas, and help. If you both live there, and are both overcome with the insanity of the mother,, none of these ideas exist. What I can give to this family is the ability to be there within 3 hours. What he gives to this family is that he can't. My bro is my hero. We were close as kids and almost strangers as adults. It amazes me that we have come together for a singular person, our father, all these years later. What we have in common is a crazy mother and a dad we adore that we know we have to take charge of his care. What we understand is, we are limited in our ability to take care of him, because of our mother. What we know is, we want the best for him, regardless, and have to deal with our mother regardless, and I also know that I am not alone, my brother is fighting with me. If you have a sibling, talk to them, because I could not have done this without my brother, my father couldn't have a chance if my brother wasn't fighting for him as well.

And the really sad thing is that much of this time, my brother was also fighting for the life of his wife's father, and recently I am fighting for the life of my husband's mother. And there is my mother who calls and calls to terrorize all of us, and to tell us father is dying and to make everything about her. I still don't get that you can have a parent who is "in charge" of another parent who has the control of that person's life when you know she has almost destroyed the lives of others and is a hazard to herself PLUS her other family. At some point, when you know that someone is so totally out of touch with reality, you should be able to do something about them, other than let them be the "ruler" of their spouse, you should be able to do something about them,, but apparently that can't happen. I still belive it can, and I still think my bro will think what it is.

If you don't have an siblings, I don't know what to say, if you do, involve them,, like myself, my brother has brought me strength in times I didn't know if i could do it again. It doesn't matter if we find we are legally bound to something we don't like, at least we are on the same page and will fight for that page.
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Jasleinstein has the same situation I have. My brother lives many miles away. I have seen this "train wreck" coming for 30 years. He didn't because he lives away and was living his life raising 2 small girls. After our mother started being more sever with our father, my brother got involved and has been a life saver for me. After all these years, I really can't see the "forest for the trees", and he can. He has practical ideas which he has done. Hire a lawyer, get some results, get the Hippa released for us kids. It is amazing that two heads are so much better than one. He thought about stuff I didn't. He has actually done more for us and our Dad than I ever did because he was removed enough that he could. For years I resented him because he wasn't here dealing with it (although I am 3 hrs from dealing with it everyday). Fact is, his distance is what gives me ideas, and help. If you both live there, and are both overcome with the insanity of the mother,, none of these ideas exist. What I can give to this family is the ability to be there within 3 hours. What he gives to this family is that he can't. My bro is my hero. We were close as kids and almost strangers as adults. It amazes me that we have come together for a singular person, our father, all these years later. What we have in common is a crazy mother and a dad we adore that we know we have to take charge of his care. What we understand is, we are limited in our ability to take care of him, because of our mother. What we know is, we want the best for him, regardless, and have to deal with our mother regardless, and I also know that I am not alone, my brother is fighting with me. If you have a sibling, talk to them, because I could not have done this without my brother, my father couldn't have a chance if my brother wasn't fighting for him as well.

And the really sad thing is that much of this time, my brother was also fighting for the life of his wife's father, and recently I am fighting for the life of my husband's mother. And there is my mother who calls and calls to terrorize all of us, and to tell us father is dying and to make everything about her. I still don't get that you can have a parent who is "in charge" of another parent who has the control of that person's life when you know she has almost destroyed the lives of others and is a hazard to herself PLUS her other family. At some point, when you know that someone is so totally out of touch with reality, you should be able to do something about them, other than let them be the "ruler" of their spouse, you should be able to do something about them,, but apparently that can't happen. I still belive it can, and I still think my bro will think what it is.

If you don't have an siblings, I don't know what to say, if you do, involve them,, like myself, my brother has brought me strength in times I didn't know if i could do it again. It doesn't matter if we find we are legally bound to something we don't like, at least we are on the same page and will fight for that page.
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Does he have a roommate with a phone? Could he call you collect from that phone with help from the aides? Can he walk to another location to receive calls? If you can set up a relationship with an aide with a cell phone, and give him/her money for their trouble, maybe they would put you on the phone with him. Do this ONLY when you're sure Mom is busy elsewhere!
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