My mother refuses medical care and has fallen and hit her head. It's been explained to me that no one can force medical care on her. Help!


She hit the corner of the coffee table and has a goose egg bump on her head. She should be checked over by a doctor, but has already refused medical care when I took her to the emergency room after an even worse fall some time ago, and refused medical care when I called 911 after a fall last week. It's been explained to me that no one can force medical care on her. I believe she has dementia, but we haven't a diagnosis because she refuses to see a doctor or have medical care. Help.



We're at urgent care and she will be admitted for brain bleeding. She is incredibly angry with me for causing all of this. Apparently she wants to be left alone to die without any medical intervention which makes me incredibly sad. I did however get what I've wanted since my caregiving began with her: she will finally see a doctor after two-plus years of refusing to do so. As she stares at the ceiling and I sit here helpless to even speak, I wish I could understand why there is such a sea of hopelessness and helplessness separating the two of us.
Helpful Answer (26)
Reply to NoRecess

You could also try guilting your mom into being seen by telling her if something happens to her, YOU could be in trouble for not taking her to get checked out. I used that on my mom a couple of times when I needed her to do something (like turn on her air-conditioning when her apt was 87 degrees) and she didn't want to do it. She would do it to protect me. Sometimes it worked.
Helpful Answer (20)
Reply to blannie

That is why it is so important to have a Medical Directive so that family will have in writing what the person wants done in their final months.

I was so glad that both my parents had such documents, it was like a blueprint to follow so I wouldn't worry that I wasn't following their wishes. Once Hospice was on board then no more hospital or urgent care runs.
Helpful Answer (18)
Reply to freqflyer

Ok, here’s the problem. You don’t indicate if Mom suffers from dementia for sure. That’s something you really need to know. If you finally get to the ER or doc with her, she could turn around and say, “Well, I told her to call 911 but she wouldn’t” because basically you never know what’s going to come out of their mouths. So then, they’d probably be required to call APS on you. You could be accused of abuse or neglect. Stranger things have happened.

FrequentFlyer made a wonderful suggestion in an earlier post. Could you tell Mom that she HAS to be checked out because she’s falling so much and if Medicare finds out she wasn’t checked out to find out why, they could drop her? That’s what we call the “therapeutic fib”. You mention that Mom has cancer. Has she doctored for that? A word in her oncologists ear might help, too
Helpful Answer (17)
Reply to Ahmijoy

Dear NoRecess,

I'm so sorry, I know how hard it is when your parent is refusing care. I know you don't want to fight with her or go against her wishes. But in these cases, I find you have to go against their wishes. Call 911. Let the doctor know she refuses but you are concerned about her welfare. There is no choice.

Growing up I was passive and tried to be the good girl that did what her parents wanted. There was no back talk, no questioning, but I feel as an adult child that is a fatal mistake.

The roles are reversed and we must take charge. We must be assertive. Our parents might have undiagnosed medical conditions affecting their judgement and behaviours.

I hope you can get the help you need for your mom.

Thinking of you.
Helpful Answer (17)
Reply to cdnreader

Norecess, that, to me, is the crux and core of dementia--attribution of fault for all that is wrong to the caregiver. It sucks, big time.

(((((Hugs)))))) and hoping for some treatment for mom and peace of mind for you.

When you have a moment, let us know how you got her to urgent care!
Helpful Answer (16)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn

NoRecess, you did the right thing. If you did not take her to the hospital and she died at home, they would have done an autopsy. Then you will be required to explain why there was a blunt force trauma on her head, bleeding internally. Depending on the autopsy report, you may or may not be arrested for elderly abuse, involuntary manslaughter, etc...

My dad was like your mom. He refused medical intervention. He refused to go to the clinic despite the urgings of the home care nurses. When I knew he had pneumonia, I called 911. I begged them to visit and atleast try. They came. My dad refused them to do any vital signs. He refused to go to the ER. The medics told me that he has a right to refuse medical help. Then left.... If your mom truly wanted to die, then at the hospital, she could have told the doctor straight out: I was forced by my daughter to come here. I don't want to be treated. I want to go home... . If your mom was persistent, they are obligated to release her. But, if those doctors/nurses are like here, they would be able to sweet talk your mom to stay. Like with my dad.

You did the right thing... before they release her, make sure that hospice services have been approved. Hate for you to go home and then try to get it done. Your mom would resist you 100%. Take care.
Helpful Answer (16)
Reply to bookluvr

NoRecess, no you didn't take away her final wish to die at home because your Mom can eventually go home if the brain bleed isn't that serious. You did the right thing.

I remember when my Dad fell and had a major goose egg on his head. Of course my parents didn't tell me until many hours later. I was going to take Dad to urgent care, but he was too wobbly to walk. So I called 911. Rather be safe then sorry.

My own Mom had a brain bleed from a fall. Mom stayed in the hospital a couple of days then was sent home. Mom was back to her old self, stubborn as ever. Doctor requested she have caregivers watch over her, but my Mom wasn't going to have any part of that.

So let's think positive that your Mom will be back at home.
Helpful Answer (14)
Reply to freqflyer

"Who dares wins," NoRecess.

Good call on your part, you did well to risk your mother's wrath and get her seen; and the outcome will, God willing, be exactly what she herself chose for her latter years.

She might even reflect that she has you to thank for bringing her there safely. Only, I wouldn't necessarily expect that... ;)
Helpful Answer (14)
Reply to Countrymouse

NoRecess, good job on getting her to urgent care. Please share what tactics you used to accomplish it!
When she’s feeling better and back home, it might be helpful to really define what she means by dying at home. Mom has a DNR order, and I have reviewed different scenarios with the staff at her NH. If she falls and breaks something I do want her to get it set. But invasive procedures like surgeries etc, no. Maybe you can review different “what-ifs” with her. It’s not all about “dying at home”’s important to get an understanding on other less serious medical emergencies as well, so when the time comes she can die in the most comfortable way possible at home.  When she thinks of dying at home, she may have this vision of peacefully passing in her sleep. Wouldn’t that be wonderful. But the reality is without a thought out plan it might be a lot more painful than peaceful. And I don’t think either of you would want that. 
Good job. This is tough stuff.
Helpful Answer (13)
Reply to rocketjcat

See All Answers