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When he went to the ER, he was able to give them his mother's name for them to call. My aunt and grandmother didn't go see him until two days later when he was already in a coma. Nobody knows what happened to him. He is now in a nursing home with a tracheotomy tube and a feeding tube, heavily medicated and doesn't know who any of us are half the time. My question is, how can I go about getting medical information from the hospital about what they did to him? Nobody seems to want to share any information, and my grandmother will not go and get the information that she can. How hard would it be to obtain guardianship over him? He is still legally married to my mother but they have not had contact for 8 years.

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I guess no one has POA? If your father did not sign a paper giving permission for the doctors to talk to family members than under HIPPA they don't have to talk to anyone. Which is a shame because seems like Dad was not able to tell them what he wanted. Guardianship can be very expensive and take a while.
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tashalg3480, you can only get information from the hospital or the nursing home only if your name is on what is called a HIPAA form. This form has to do with privately issues, and even though you are patient's daughter, your Dad probably forgot to add your name when he was in the ER.

As a patient in ER, his mind is in a whirl and it can get confusing. He can't add your name at this moment in time.

As for guardianship, from what I have read, it is quite expensive. Who is your Dad's Power of Attorney? Was it your mother? Or Dad never had a Power of Attorney made?

Here is an article I found here on Aging Care regarding guardianship.
https://www.agingcare.com/articles/how-to-get-guardianship-of-elderly-parents-140693.htm
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Very difficult situation. Can you ask the hospital and/or NH who they CAN release information to and then follow that up? My heart goes out to you.
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Unfortunately there is no PoA. He is still legally married to my mother. When my Aunt called to tell me what happened (I live in a different state than they do), we packed up the car and went to see him. The nursing home gave us very little information but as far as what happened to him in the hospital, they said his mother could go in person and request information but she is not able to do that (or won't do it.. I haven't figured it out yet). We didn't know what had happened to him until last week. He went to the ER in June, and was sent to the nursing home in July. Sadly, we didn't have much contact except for a few conversations once a month and my Aunt thought I had cut ties with him completely (which I hadn't) so she didn't bother calling until I had not heard from him in a while. A lawyer I spoke to said for a $1500 flat fee he could file guardianship for me and as long as nobody contested then it wouldn't be too bad. It is just really sad it has come to this. I literally have no clue what the hospital did to him for him to end up in this mental state that he is in now!! It's all very frustrating and I have no idea what to do :-(
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Call your mom again and tell her how important this is to you. Use guilt if you have to.
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Well it's not my mom that has the authority even though she is still legally married to him. It's HIS mom, my grandmother, because that's who he had the ER call when he went there. The nursing home told me since they have no PoA they can only give us a little bit of information.
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When your Aunt and Grandma went to see him in the hospital, and he was " already in a come", what did they tell grandma about what had happened?

Had for father been ill before this summer? Can you just put gm in the car and take her to the NH? She doesn't have to do anything, just be there while your dad's condition is explained to her. She must be suffering horribly to see one of her kids so ill!
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How old is your dad? Curious as to how old that would make his mom.
You may have to lay the guilt on pretty think to get her to talk, or go to the hospital--this doesn't make sense at all!

It's unlikely the hospital did anything to cause this to happen to your dad. We get sick, stuff happens and it's just easier to blame it on sub-par care, when in fact you know nothing of what happened.

Either pony up the $1500 for the guardianship (ask yourself first if you REALLY want to be that deeply involved) or get GM to the hospital. Your GM must be on his contact information sheet, or she wouldn't have been called.

Good luck with this.
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As well as your inability to get any medical information I wonder about who is paying the nursing home? Have you been tried to search through your father's papers to see if he has ever named a POA for financial and/or medical decisions?
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Just because Grandmoms is his mother and there is a wife without a POA the home does not have to talk with them. That's why you should always have a POA in place. Even husband's and wives.
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The short of it is, he had an alcohol problem and that is why he and my mother were not together. I kept in contact with him because he was still my dad and I still had hope he would get better. He called his social worker saying he needed help (instead of calling 911???). I contacted her, she told me what she was allowed to tell me which was pretty much that she got there to the apartment he was renting, he told her he "fell down" but she said he had looked like he got beat up. She walked him to the ER (as he lived just down the block from it). From there, he gave them his moms contact info and that's who they called. He went in conscious, talking, coherent, was able to tell them that "he fell down" and two days later my aunt and grandmother show up and he was in a coma. They said he had head trauma. That is ALL the information they gave them. They never bothered to ask any other questions. He ended up with a tracheotomy and a feeding tube in a nursing home one month later. He is 58 years old so not considered technically a senior (I don't guess?). But he did have a drinking problem. I'm sure he either did fall while intoxicated pretty hard or he ran his mouth and got beat up. It is really a sad situation all around but I am not getting any answers from anyone. My Aunt won't return my texts. They live up in PA while I am down in TN. My father did not have a PoA as far as I know. I just want to know why they did what they did to him in the ER. I would want him to be closer to me if that would be possible but I want to know what my options are :-\
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Tashalg, I think there are a lot of things that could have happened, but I don't believe there's enough information to assume or blame the hospital. They don't trach or insert feeding tubes w/o good reason.

If your father was beaten, there's also the possibility that criminal action is pending and they don't want to, or have been advised by the police, not to discuss the potential issues with anyone.

On the issue of the trach and feeding tube specifically, he could have sustained respiratory issues that compromised his breathing and couldn't have survived w/o a trach and feeding tube. Did he have any respiratory problems before this incident?

And with a history of drinking, there might be other health issues of which you're unaware.

I think rather than thinking the hospital did something, it might be appropriate to consider that, yes, it did, but it assisted in keeping him alive and breathing, perhaps through intubation first, followed by a trach and feeding tube.

My question would be whether or not he's getting respiratory therapy in the nursing home, as that would be the appropriate way to address getting the trach removed.

It sounds as if there's a lack of communication in the family for some reason. Perhaps the situation is such that your relatives don't want you to know, or perhaps your father didn't want you to know and worry.

But I think the hospital is the last entity that should be blamed. The staff may actually have saved his life.
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Slow brain bleeds can cause someone who is walking and talking after an event to suddenly become critical, and there is no knowing how long he delayed before calling for help. I've often heard of those with a brain injury being put in a medically induced coma to allow the brain to stabilize, although the coma might have also been a result of the injury too. I'm sorry that you are running into so may road blocks in trying to be his advocate, it is frustrating when rules meant to protect privacy instead become ridiculous barriers to information. If you truly want to step up then I think applying for an emergency guardianship is the only way to do it. Good luck.
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Thank you all for your answers! They mean a lot to me and have helped me see things I didn't see before. As far as the nursing home goes, they told my aunt the pulmonologist comes around once every 3 months. He was also at first sent to short term care and then something happened and they sent him back to the hospital and he came back to the same nursing home into long term care. It just feels like a cloak and dagger about everything. I want to be able to help him and find things out but I just don't have the money to right now. I was hoping there might be another way, but it doesn't look like it there is :-/
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Tashalg I'm very sorry for what's happened to your father; it's just that I think you could really use the Serenity Prayer right now.

You are having to deal with the teeth-grinding frustration of not being able to get sensible answers to straightforward questions, and it must feel as though people are being intentionally obstructive. But it's not their fault your father hadn't appointed a health care proxy, or that your grandmother is what sounds like a bit defeatist, would you agree? And rules is rules.

If you're happy with the care he's receiving now, as far as you can gauge what it's like anyway, maybe just wait and see. Perhaps visit first, when you can, and defer any plans until then.
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wow well definitely do not hire the attorney. For starters, there is a wife and mother and aunts that would probably contest with your distance and would be easy to lose. Being legally married hinders your efforts as well. HIPPA is exactly for this purpose so that medical personnel respect the rights of the patient and discuss with no one but who has a POA. Spouses are no longer included due to second marriages, children of first marriages were offended new young spouse could call the shots over an ailing parent. This has been strongly in effect since the mid-90s and you can find these POA online with no need for an attorney. When I say without an attorney its because the loved one is able to sign for themselves. Some states have two one for financial and one for health. Your best bet is for the family to decide on a family member to obtain the POA to avoid unnecessary attorney fees regarding objections in open court. Now at least Dad will have a voice. I have done POAs as gifts or just on GP. Every adult in your family should have one. This way who you decide to be your voice should you not be able to speak for yourself will be your voice.
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Gosh, I'm so sorry about your Dad's sudden illness, and him needing such aggressive medical attention at such young age too!

Hopefully he will soon be on the mend, and will be able to appoint you as his POA, and or give you authority to get information by signing a HIPPA form, in the Nursing home. I would definitely get those in order ASAP!

People do get better with rest and time, and I hope this is true for your Dad. God Luck in the follow up on his care! A good lesson for us all, to have those important ppwk set up in advance, even in our 40's and 50's, when we often don't think that we need it yet!
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We are already planning for my mom to assign PoA to me and my brother in case anything happens to her. I appreciate all the kind words! Sadly I think he will be in the condition he is in for the rest of his life. I hope he does get better but the outlook does not look so good.
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My thought is that YOU need al-anon. It helps so many people who have alcoholic family members - alive, close, far, and even dead. I totally understand wishing you could do more for your dad - that's a normal emotion. Al-Anon will help you understand why guardianship is not a good idea and help you see how to be a good daughter to him! I know this is super hard. You can go to just one meeting and it will help. Hugs!
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tashalg3480, I hate to break the bad news to you but your mother cannot assign any authority to you unless there's a specific provision in the POA document allowing that. Your father should be the one who executes a new DPOA.
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All hospitals have someone called patient advocate (or something like that). Ask him/her for advice. Most likely, the answer will be that your mom has to be the one to get the info. But I agree with JoAnn29 that, without a POA, your mom might not be able to get any info either.
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I agree that you shouldn't hire the attorney now. Guardianship is very expensive in the long run. The $1500 is just to file, not to deal with court fees, other attorneys called in as guardian ad litum to represent his interests, or anyone who contests. If the time does come to file, be sure to use an attorney in his state of residence who specializes in elder law. I went through the procedure last year and even uncontested it's very time-consuming, which is as it should be to have someone declared incompetent.

I know that you are feeling horrible that there doesn't seem to be anything you can do and maybe there is some guilt involved for not having helped him more in the past. As someone who was raised by an alcoholic, I understand those wishes, but he didn't give you those opportunities.

Al-Anon is a great idea for you. Also see if there is a meeting of Adult Children of Alcoholics in your area.
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Guardianship will probably mean yearly court filings. Also be prepared that you will be his decision maker for hospital readmissions and do not resuscitate. Do you want that responsibility?
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He never had a PoA. There is nothing in writing who can make medical decisons or financial decisions for him. He is not able to make choices for himself. He talks complete nonsense 99% of the time. He's very anxious and tries to pull out his tubes and get out of bed all the time. They keep him heavily medicated. His mother, sister, and brothers do not seem to care to find anything out and they are the only ones that live up near where he is. It just breaks my heart that I can't do anything for him. I feel stuck and helpless about it. I cannot get any information about him other than how he is doing at that moment if I call the nursing the home :-(
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Tash--

I'm going out on a limb here, please don't be offended. Is your dad an alcoholic? Sure sounds like it. At age 58, he shouldn't have the health problems he has, and he's been living in a NH? I'm 61 and I cannot fathom that (barring extreme health issues).

If he has been an "unrepentant" alcoholic for many years --I can see why both your mother and his have stepped away. At some point, most family members of alcoholics do just that--walk away. The burden of the problems brought about by an alcoholic just wear you out. You think they are being cruel--maybe they are just enforcing some boundaries and not being drawn in to his dramatic life anymore. Don't judge them for it--nobody can change your dad.

You do not *know* that they don't care. You feel it. You haven't stayed close to your dad and maybe they have been through so much with him, they just...can't.

It's wonderful that you love your dad and that you care so much. But, not everyone feels as you do.

Perhaps and honest and calm conversation with Gma would set your mind at rest. Emphasis on CALM. Can you get to where he is? See for yourself? Hearing everything secondhand is frustrating and kind of pointless.

And do look into Al-Anon programs for families of alcoholics. You might find some insight there that will help you.
I know you want to find someone/something to blame for dad's situation. Probably the blame lays squarely on his own shoulders--and that is hard to accept.
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No, I am well aware that his alcohol abuse has landed him in the sitation he is in but nobody has dealt with his behavior more than my mother, brother, and I have. His family has given him a little help here and there but they didn't know the severity of his alcoholism and believed him when he lied. I implore you to read my previous replies, Midkid58. I have been to see him. Once. As soon as my aunt decided to finally tell me what had happened to him (after his initial er visit back in June and he had already been in the nursing home since July) I packed up the car and went. He has been in that condition for that long and they never bothered to call and tell anyone. She didn't even tell his brothers. He is still my dad, and a human being, and doesn't deserve to rot in a crappy nursing home where nobody will visit him. I am not looking to blame anyone. I am trying to find out everything I can about what the hospital did so I can understand his situation.
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So sorry to read about your Father. This is going to be difficult, especially if you have siblings. What I am posting is lengthy, but I have/am going through this and many other issues and have been researching my buns off to protect my Mother.

JoAnn29 is very very correct about cost for Guardianship. You will need an attorney to represent you, your Father will have representation with a Fiduciary Attorney, any siblings will have representation. Some States, if your Father is able to answer at least 3 questions presented by the Judge....you lose.

You will be responsible for ALL COURT COSTS AND ALL ATTORNYS FEES! Yours, the Fiduciary and your siblings attorneys. Remember, Attorneys charge by the hour.

1. Google the State Law regarding Medical Power of Attorney AND Notary Law; majority of people do not realize that Notary Law is amended via State Legislation. You can get a printable PDF. Thank goodness I did this as my sister made a fraudulent document and has decided that she is going to HAVE Mom redo her Will...fraud!!
2. If you have siblings, you will need to contact ALL of them and ask for THEIR PERMISSION to act as your Father's Medical POA.
3. Ask if any of your siblings want to act as secondary Medical POA (need a 2nd), this too must have permission of the others. You and the secondary will be the contact for any emergency action and/or what the doctors can do during his hospital stay.
4. As PRIMARY Medical POA, the hospital will take a copy for medical records.
5. HIPA comes into play too. You, as primary POA are allowed to provide a list of family members or anybody else; who are able to receive any information regarding your Father's condition.

In my case, my sister fraudulently had my other siblings give permission WITHOUT my knowledge (I had the POA originally) and NEVER WAS CONTACTED TO GIVE MY VOTE as in my home State is required. One only needs majority of siblings to agree; 3/4 in my case.

6. MAKE SURE THAT YOUR FATHER HAS A LIVING WILL. This will state who (it can state 2 people who must agree as to what is to be done. They can only agree that your Father is placed on Life Support or necessary emergency means has the immediate medical POA should the hospital not be able to contact either you or the secondary. That is all that they can do until you, as the person designated to make the final decision(s) is contacted and able to get to the hospital to discuss with doctors/family.

IMPORTANT!! The Living Will states as to whom the person is, once it is determined by at least 3 doctors that your Father will never improve and that it is best to terminate his life.

If you are designated as the person to give permission as to whether or not to take your Father off life support, you are required to also consult with your siblings having the doctors present (you have the right to have your Father's Dr. contacted and consult at the same time either by being there or telephone); the ultimate decision will be yours.

There is also another area on the Living Will to which your Father will need to agree and sign/witnessed prior to any hospital stay regarding his wishes as to whether or not he wants to be listed as a DNR. The hospital will ask to make a copy of this also for record. Should they not be able to contact you, then the hospital will make the decision i.e. heart attack, issues with surgery etc. should your Father "straight line".

Should a DNR not be listed in his hospital records, then the hospital is required to place your Father on life support. Again, this will require a consult with any siblings along with the doctors should it be deemed that your Father will not recover.

The Living Will also has an agreement as to whether or not your Father wishes to be a organ donor. Yes, even my Mother at 85 yrs has viable organs that can be used for transplant.

I have found that (I have stated this in many of my posts), that having a membership with JustAnswer.com has been extremely helpful with my questions.

I am not suggesting for anyone to join, but I have the ability to ask unlimited questions that I can present to an Estate Attorney (I always ask the same Attorney) who has helped me so much. I provide the State Law along with the Statutes, my understanding of what I perceive the Law to mean, he researches and provides an explanation of the Law along with his opinion.

I pay $49 for this service a month. I really didn't use it until these past 3-4 months as things are popping into my head regarding my one sister who sneaks behind my back i.e. Medical POA, Living Will and Last Will and Testament just happened to disappear. What she doesn't know is that I have Mom's Will which will take precedence over any thing my sister attempts to do about Mom's estate. I also have a copy of Mom's Living Will....ta dah!!

As I stated in this post, please Google State Law first. Also Google your State's notary Law. The State site should provide a download/printable PDF version.

I would say that about 99.999% of people do not know that these Notary Laws are amended by the State Legislature. These should be on the website for the Secretary of State. If you are not sure as to their meaning, Google the Statutes under the Bill that was passed to amend. It will provide you with the sponsors of the Bill, the tally of the votes, the pros/cons of the Bill for the change. If needed, you can contact any of the peopled listed to discuss their reason for the change. If you cannot get the Bill in its entirety, contact the Capitol records department and they will provide you with a complete copy of the Bill.

Your Father must be able to understand what he is signing and in a majority of States, a Living Will must be written up with an attorney and notarized.

7. IF you are the only remaining family, get a letter from your Father's Dr. stating that you are indeed the only family member remaining.

****GET A POWER OF ATTORNEY REGARDING YOUR FATHER'S FINANCES****

This must be provided to any of your Father's bank(s) and investment(s) companies. This will provide you with the ability to make sure no one is taking monies from any of your Father's accounts. Ask that ALL of your Father's accounts be FLAGGED as PROTECTED. This requires that all transactions must by ok'd by you.
#1 Elderly Abuse....family members scamming parent(s) out of their money. My husband is the Sr. Chief Compliance Officer for a large bank and is required to attend seminars regarding Elderly Abuse every year...in DC with FBI instructors.

There are several types of Financial POAs, so you may want to discuss with an Attorney, Banker or Financial advisor.

If you are an only child or not (again consulting with siblings), you will need proof from his doctor that your Father is incapable of taking care of his finances. Some States allow for you to go before a Judge with all of your documentation and will give you either the ability for total POA or assign as Conservator.

As Conservator, you will be required to report ALL FINANCIAL transactions periodically (as determined by the Court) to the Court. Guardianship TAKES ALL OF YOUR FATHER'S RIGHTS AWAY FROM HIM. Should he survive and still able to make decisions, he will lose his right to vote etc. Conservatorship is a better choice so you are able to help your Father make decisions and you must follow his direction(s).

Again. sorry for the length of this post. I have been researching and researching until I have driven my husband crazy (his parents are deceased and he never had to do anything like this).
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Gardenartist, I believe the OPs comment about getting PoA from her mom was about being her mom's PoA in order to avoid having this kind of situation with another parent. An excellent idea, which should be done ASAP.

Tasha, Although many are suggesting becoming PoA and HIPAA rep for your dad, that won't be possible unless he becomes mentally competent, which doesn't seem to be expected to happen.

Very sad situation. In some counties, there are volunteer agencies that provide court-appointed advocates for elderly or disabled people like this. Try contacting the Area on Aging in the County where he resides. They might be able to refer you to that kind of help. Or call the County Health Department or Dept of Family Services, commonly called Welfare.
Try Al-Anon for you; encourage your mom to get her affairs in order--PoA, living will, HIPAA, etc.
All you can do is all you can do. Your dad made his choices, sadly; and you make your own.
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Not reading all the responses (no time at this moment) but would suggest connecting with the social worker at the nursing home. Yes, they will be bound by the laws...but she might provide some info. I would try to connect with the long term care ombudsman's office in the state/city your dad is and ask for their suggestions, and then contact United Way for referrals to an attorney or look up legal aid in that city yourself. Elder Law and these issues have become way too complicated for you to go it alone especially being out of state. You deserve an explanation. If you have any reason to suspect malpractice, you might find one of those attorneys who practice that sort of law and they'd be able to yank the records...then again, it may go down to guardianship first because your father can't give informed consent. Good luck....I hope you let us know how it goes...
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Couple thoughts reading more: if your dad is considered to be on life-support, which isn't at all clear...would it be appropriate for hospice to be involved? They might be more forthcoming with info...also, if the police were involved, some of their efforts may be public information...if you know dates and can access the police logs, it might reveal some info...
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