Is there an ultimate authority, when approaching the end of sub-acute rehab placement, over whether Dad goes home or to long term care?
As legal and medical POA, I am emotionally on a wild ride as I begin to wait for rehab’s assessments. Dad, 97, is being admitted to rehab today after a four-day hospital admission, after a fall where he hit his head hard. He’s ok after lots of imaging. He has dementia, advancing hydrocephalus (no shunt, he refused in 1990), and severe aortic stenosis, which probably were the cause of the fall (my back was turned for about 10 seconds and he decided to stand up on his own to remove his socks). He has been falling (without injury) more regularly in the past six months. I have a hunch rehab will make a well-considered recommendation, but ultimately the decision lies on me. If that is true, I have to face either the probability of having a catastrophic fall at home (no reliable night care), or his being quickly placed in a dreadful LTC. I’ve just toured seven LTCs. Of course the ones I felt good about have 1-2 year wait lists. Dad has such an amazing daytime caregiver at home, that even Dad’s primary doc said (before the most recent fall) -- “Keep taking the risk” of home care.” My 86-year-old dear husband has been so patient with my caretaking role for the past 10 years. He’s suggested we split so he can live out his life in the warmer climate we have both dreamed of. I really don’t want to continue making Dad’s home life work, but am having a hard time facing realities now that crux time is here. I really don’t want to go through being Dad’s grim reaper. Most of all, I really want peace and some joy with my husband. I know that sounds like a no-brainer, but I don’t have a reliable brain right now. I feel very alone, as my co-POA sister is very ill and wants me to make all decisions.