My parents are 82 and living in their own home. Mom has moderate AD and neuropathy which makes her a high fall risk. Well, she fell last night. Dad cannot lift her so he called an ambulance. They took her to the hospital where she is now. Same thing happened two years ago when mom remained in the hospital for eight days because her blood pressure dropped upon standing. Due to her AD, she was highly confused and did not know where she was and was talking to people who were not there. One evening when no family was present, she apparently became distressed and they gave her Ativan to calm her. They overdosed her and she was comatose for three days. It took several months for mom to return to baseline. Now mom is there without an advocate.

When dad called with this news he said he did not know why the ambulance took her to the hospital or why specifically they are keeping her there. One hour later a nurse called him with an update and said they are running tests on her kidneys. She is scheduled for an MRI later today. He said "more tests are scheduled" and it will be several days before she is released. Mom had no symptoms of illness prior to this.

Can you please give me a reality check? Why would an ambulance just take her without signs of injury? Is it possible my dad could have clarified with the responders that this call was only to get his wife off the floor -- not because she had an attack or illness? Is the better option to perhaps call the Fire Department, or some non-emergency line?

I am a bit distraught and fear the risks she is now exposed to. Is this simply out of my hands now? What is the best next step I can take?

To make it more stressful, my dad put blame on me for mom having fallen. Relations between me and my sister have been strained for years and dad said that mom had been saying it made her upset earlier that day. He thinks she fell due to stress over that. He angrily ordered me to patch things up so mom could get better. It was horrible. Thanks.

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Hello and thank you to everyone who replied. Accepting your suggestions. Thanks!
Helpful Answer (1)

GingerMay, paramedics do an initial assessment on response, and if anything is out of line, they'll make the determination to take the patient to the ER. 

What I would do is start being proactive; contact the nurses station for the floor on which your mother is located and ask to make arrangements for updates, and/or to be notified if changes occur or decisions are required.   If either your father or you aren't proxy pursuant to a medical POA, consider hiring an attorney to create one, so that either of you can get information from the hospital on her status and treatment.  

I'm guessing she may have hit her head and the MRI is to ensure there were no consequences.  (Alva is a nurse, which I'm not, so she could better explain what consequences might arise).   Bleeding from the brain is I believe one of the serious consequences that might be the reason for the MRI.   (I stand ready to concede to Alva's interpretation though.)

As to being blamed, get a jump on this issue and ask Dad to sit down with you and discuss what steps you can take to avoid further falls as much as possible.   Let him be part of the analysis and decision making process.   That mitigates against blaming you entirely.

Are there throw rugs on the floor?  Is it a slick floor?   Is there furniture that can be moved or positioned so that Mom could grab onto it before falling? 

Are grab bars installed in areas where there isn't anything to hold onto?   An occupational therapist can offer good insights, especially if Mom is referred to rehab for recovery and regaining stability.

BTW, do you live with your parents?  If not, do you have a lock box for emergency personnel, and Life Alert pendants for your parents?
Helpful Answer (1)

Your mom was taken to the hospital b/c the paramedics saw a reason to; either her vital signs were poor, or she hit her head in the fall she took, cut herself and was bleeding, or about 100 other reasons we're unaware of. Can you call the ambulance company and get a report, if you are her medical POA? That might be a good place to start.

I wouldn't be overly concerned about her catching The Virus while she's in the hospital. My DH & I have been in & out of hospitals for the past two months, he was admitted twice and spent 2 weeks total in there, including 3 separate stays in the ER, with no issues. I myself had 2 procedures done during The Pandemic, and another one on Friday; I'm not overly concerned either. Remember; these people work in the hospitals every day and they're ok. Your mom is better off in the hospital where they can figure out what is wrong with her and fix it, than she is at home where she may continue to fall. Calling 911 is really the only option if your dad cannot get her up. She can REFUSE to go the hospital, or, your father can refuse FOR her if he is her medical POA, if they feel that's the best course of action to take. My DH called 911 for me about 3 months ago and I refused to be taken to the hospital; I knew I was ok but I'd have gone if I felt the need to.

My mother has neuropathy in her legs & feet and has fallen over 50x in Assisted Living. It's nobody's 'fault' that a person with AD and neuropathy falls; it's the nature of the beast and your father should stop blaming you. Why aren't YOU blaming HIM, since he was there when it happened? Because it makes NO SENSE to blame anyone for an accident, that's why. Stress happens, too. It's a fact of life. AD and dementia seriously complicate EVERYTHING for EVERYBODY, too, so that fact needs to be taken into consideration. Your father is stressed out HIMSELF and why he's acting the way he is!!!

As far as your mother being given Ativan and having a bad reaction, do let the hospital know she's 'allergic' to it. Much easier to use that terminology than to try to explain the situation that happened years ago. I say I'm 'allergic' to Keflex b/c I hate taking it and it makes me feel crappy to do so, so it's not prescribed for me.

I think you should leave your mom where she's at, let them run the necessary tests on her to see what is going on, if anything, and then she can come home with peace of mind for all concerned. I've been down this road with my 94 y/o mother with dementia many, many times in the past and it's really a stressful situation, I know.

Good luck!
Helpful Answer (4)

What reason did the EMTs give your Dad for taking Mom to hospital. Generally when they are called they do transport patients. They are medical personnel, and a failure to address things found upon arrival to Mom's and Dad's house would/could result in removal of their licensing. They may have found any number of things, and without reading their report one cannot know what.
The hospital apparently agreed with the EMT that Mom had reason to stay in hospital.
Are there advance directives in place? If not, you and your father may want to discuss what your advocacy should be for Mom if dialysis is suggested, just in light of the fact they are doing kidney tests.
I hope you will soon have some answers.
Helpful Answer (2)

I'm so sorry. Having the ambulance whisk your mom away and then being unable to be there for her has to be so very difficult. I suspect that if the ambulance was called then there is the assumption there is an emergency. In my area if you just need assistance getting someone off the floor who has fallen there is a separate non-emergency number to call. So, from the paramedics perspective they've been called for an emergency. They find an elderly woman on the floor, probably confused, and, potentially with low blood pressure. They aren't just going to pick her up, put her in the bed and leave. There are things there are meet their definition of needing to be taken to the hospital for evaluation. Now, the hospital is running tests and doing an MRI to see if there are underlying factors. There may be nothing wrong and she just fell because of neuropathy and the tests may discover that. Don't panic yet that she has some other illness.

The covid exposure issue is hard to think about but the hospitals are doing a very good job at keeping covid patients and staff away from non-covid patients. One of my daughters works in a hospital and says that they are diligent in keeping the separation so not to worry if you must go for care. And that's the same diligence that means your mom can't have visitors because they don't want to unwittingly introduce covid to a non-covid area. So, everyone is doing their very best for your mother. I would make certain that the hospital knows that she reacts poorly to ativan. That piece of information would be important to them.

Your dad sounds like he's upset and just looking for anyone to blame but himself for her fall. He probably feels like he didn't do a good job at keeping her safe and doesn't want to accept that responsibility so pushes it onto you. My dad is the same way - it's always someone else's fault that "made" him do it. I think it is an unfortunate feature of men. The reality is your mother is a fall risk. It's going to happen again. It would be nice for you and your sister to have a good relationship but that has absolutely nothing to do with this. Just ignore him when he blames you.

As you said, this is really out of your hands now but the best thing you can do is stay in touch with everyone, don't give guilt or accept guilt, and keep the lines of communication open. Your mom will probably be home in a few days.
Helpful Answer (3)

I would guess Dad is feeling guilty that he was unable to help Mum and is passing blame to you. You are in no way responsible for Mum's fall.

The paramedics took Mum to the hospital because they noticed something of concern. Or they could be CYA, but it is good that Mum is being checked out.

My Mum (86) had her first fall a week ago. It scared the bejesus out of her. Mum is very independent and lives alone without support in a 2 storey house. She came down the stairs, went to leash the dog and got very dizzy, and hit the deck. She was able to get herself back up. The doctor is concerned that either vertigo or dehydration contributed to the fall. Mum refused to go to the hospital but did go to the doctor.

With your Mum hospital delirium will likely happen again. It is scary, but it is important to determine what caused her fall.

Do you have POA ($$ and health) for Mum? If not, that boat may have sailed, but it is a good wake up call to get this in place for Dad.
Helpful Answer (3)

Your mother fell because seniors fall, it’s just inevitable. Please don’t accept being blamed for it, it wasn’t caused by stress or anything you did or didn’t do and to attempt to put that on you is unfair at best. I'd guess that the medics that responded to the call observed something or maybe several things that weren’t obvious to your parents that made them concerned enough to warrant transport, and then the hospital staff concurred that there was sufficient need to keep your mom. Hospitals now don’t want to keep anyone unnecessarily and are taking many precautions. Perhaps you can call the hospital and get an update on your mom, sometimes a friendly nurse will talk more. In any event, give it some time and don’t ever believe this is your fault
Helpful Answer (3)

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