Follow
Share

from the man (father in law and dad) that we have been helping? Our patriarch-95 years old-is threatening to sue his children and spouses (5 of us) because we helped him to get into a nursing home. His wife of 74 years is in this home since May of 2016. Since her placement-from hospital to rehab to long care facility- he has been despondent, needy and failing. He had been living in a 2 story colonial, he has a stair chair lift, walkers, canes, grab bars, lifted toilet seats (all supplied and installed by one son-my husband). He has very bad knees, congestive heart failure, and had been eating poorly even though we had been fixing/getting his meals for him. Before his wife was taken to the hospital, he helped care for her-she slept most of the day on the couch, but he kept his eye on her, fixed meals, helped her dress, etc. 3 weeks ago, he decided he couldn't live without her. He needed someone to spend the night, and be with him all day. My husband called her nursing home, and finally arranged a bed for him. They suggested we take him to the hospital as a way of getting him placed there sooner. He was agreeable to all this. As was his general practitioner. He spent a week in the hospital- regaining his strength, being on anti-anxiety meds-eating well and being well taken care of. One of us visited him every day. This past Wednesday he and we were told he would be placed in the nursing home, for rehab. He was agreeable. The next day my husband and I showed up at the hospital. Waiting for Medical Motors Service, the 3 of us talked about getting his house ready to sell, selling the contents of the house, and putting all the proceeds into a trust FOR HIS AND HIS WIFE'S CARE. He agreed to it all and said thank you. Something happened on the way to the nursing home, for when we got there we were faced with a man in a rampage. He didn't even want to spend time with his wife. He thought he was going to be in a room with her (an eventuality, but not immediate since he was doing rehab-something he was well aware of) long sad story made short, my husband and I eventually left after 1.5 hours, hoping he would calm down. Instead he rolled himself to the lobby, called the local sheriff and said he was being held against his will, and had been abandoned. He refused meds, food, and care, and the nursing home called Medical Motor Services, who took him back to the hospital. That is where he is now. He calls my brother in law (the oldest) yells at him and hangs up (at 1:30 a.m.) They go to the hospital- he tells them we have all been disowned and he doesn't want to see any of us.And that includes grandchildren. Today he has told them that he is getting a lawyer to draw up a legal document to keep all of us off his property, and that if we step foot on his property we will be arrested. We do all the mowing, upkeep, get the mail, water his plants check on things for him. The hospital told my brother in law and wife that they found him to be incompetent, that he was unable to make his own decisions about his care. We live in New York State. Does this also mean that he cant engage in legal things as well? we don't need to go to his house, but this is such an abrupt change of heart, we are having a real hard time coming to terms with this. He is a WW2 Battle of the Bulge Lt. Colonel who has always put family first. He has also always known how to stand up for himself (and his family) when needed, He is a tough old man, Any suggestions? Any advice? We are quite literally at the end of our ropes.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
shan271: "Threatening to pierce his heart with a pair of scissors?" Good grief...that should have been a huge red flag. Anyone who threatens self harm is no candidate for a nursing home, but another establishment.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I would strongly suggest that you investigate the anti-anxiety meds that they put him on and make sure they weren't anti-psychotics instead. We had a very similar incident with my Mom doing a complete 180 in the hospital because of these meds. Some people can't handle them. Mom became paranoid, angry and vulgar. This is from the sweetest woman you have ever met. She went from kind and soft spoken to raging and frightened. Once they weaned her off the anti-psychotics our real Mom reappeared. It's worth checking on. Good Luck!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

To me it looks like u did everything right. You had a doctor agree. He must have been evaluated by the home so u have their findings. How is he going to see a lawyer? I don't think u have anything to worry about.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Another suggestion is to get his records from his PCP just for backup in case this should turn uglier (lawsuit).
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Since the brilliant family member who let him go home probably isn't providing 24/7 care, Hire outside help 24/7. Use an agency so you don't have to worry about background checks,, taxes, etc. Walk away and go visit your mom and take care of yourself. Your dad will either come to grip with reality (doubtful) or just wait til the crisis and have him placed then. Whatever happens is no fault of your own. Do not let your dad continue to manipulate you with the lawyer thing. He thinks he is still an officer in the military. He is showing his incapacity
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

The UTI suggestions are good. You say the home diagnosed him as incompetent. Was that in writing? Was it done in such a way as to be acceptable in a court of law? Also, it there a possibility that he spoke with another family member who put these thoughts into his head? A staff member? A fellow resident? With Dementia it is common for caregivers to be told to do one thing and then, when they do it, because the patient does not remember, they are accused of all manner of malfeasance. Often this occurs due to interference and encouragement from other family members. Good luck to you. Get a good elder care attorney.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

When you say he is WWII vet I am wondering if he did not experience some sort of PTSD type trauma in the med transport.
If the doctors have said he is not competent then I doubt any law suit will get very far since you are acting in his best interest.
I also suggest you contact the VA to determine if they can help through a program called VA Aid and Attendance this can provide more money that will help offset some of the expenses of the nursing home or assisted living.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

shan, one thing to remember is that our elderly parents do not see us as seniors ourselves, to them we are still this fresh faced kid who can do anything. My parents were like that... I still remember them calling me to climb up a tall ladder when I was 68 years old, yikes... and they couldn't understand why I said "no".
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Stacey, anytime, anyplace....just ask. Babalou, I'm smiling imagining your mother sitting on the floor communicating with Jeanne and CM!

Shan, listen to Babalou - get a geriatrician involved. Too many doctors who don't have this experience and insight don't pursue options that might offer explanations. I still can't help thinking there's a medical reason behind the change in behavior, but non-geriatricians can easily miss that possibility.

I've had 4 different PCPs for my father and found that none of them were capable of dealing with elder issues. No more. Geriatrician or nothing.

It also might be the time for an "either/or" talk. It's easy to become frightened of growing old, especially when there are so many changes and life becomes unsettling. And that's an easy slippery slope to preoccupations with one's self and what he needs, not how it's affecting the family. There's a kind of panic that sets in with the realization that life can change precipitiously as one ages.

You might just have to take the "we have our own problems" approach a step farther and make it clear that (a) you can't jump every time he needs something (b) he's a rational (hopefully) person and needs to recognize that his behavior has to met certain standards or his options are going to be much more limited, and unpleasant, and (c) more is accomplished by everyone working together than him working against you (d) you can't help him if he's going to be unyielding and fault-finding, and (e) no caregiver is going to meet his stringent standards, but if he wants the care, he needs to be flexible.

Even in other aspects of life, no one person is going to meet someone else's standards 100% of the time.

That might be the hardest point - he's probably running scared now and it's hard to get perspective.

I truly understand the sense that your vistas have shrunk to the caregiving issue. Sometimes I'll read articles, or look at photos, of national park sites, of beautiful pristine forests, of quiet beaches with waves lapping along the shore. Or read the news - the thought of a Trump presidency, or the slaughters in Syria, help me realize that there are far worse problems than I deal with in caregiving.

Seeing such magnificent sites as our national parks also helps clear my mind, and helps me realize that I'm but one person in a vast and complicated world, and that my problems and concerns are certainly serious, but not as difficult as those created by people who abandon and abuse this beautiful planet.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

So, a year ago, would father in law have been so cavalier about the health issues of others? In other words, is this a long standing personality issue/disorder, or is this a change in his mental status. ?
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Is his doctor a geriatrician? You really need a doc who is seeing him with fresh eyes.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Thank you. We have told him this numerous times.He says that they will be alright. His world has become smaller, and only includes himself. I have seen this before in the elderly. He has alienated my SIL so much that she has washed her hands of him, so right now we are it. His primary care physician doesn't believe there is anything wrong. We are in the process of sending some caregivers to his home to see if any pass his very stringent tests. We are going to send him to the hospital (another one) if this doesn't work out. We will have to abandon him if nothing else works out, though that will be very difficult to do. I am so thankful to all of you, you guys are truly a life saver. I also feel like my world has shrunk to this problem and only this problem. So I apologize if I am not giving enough credit to those of you who are helping. YOU ARE THE BEST. I will keep you posted
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Someone needs to get FIL a full cognitive workup to determine if he's playing with a full deck and manipulating you all or is suffering from dementia and/mental illness.

At this point, tell him that you all have your own medical problems and that he needs to hire round the clock aides. With his money, of course. Staying at the NH for rehab short term and being cooperative would be much more economical for him, but if he's got dementia, the logic of this is gone.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Hi everybody. I hope I am not being a pest. BUT- we have called Adult Protective services- no return call, we have taken him to revisit the nursing home, he was again belligerent and tried to negotiate with them, they called us this morning to inform us that they can't take him back for fear that he would be too disruptive. He is his own worst enemy. He wasn't home more then 2 hours when he was calling us all despondent and weepy and now he wants us or someone to be there 24/7. Any advice? We are, of course trying other nursing homes. We called his doctor because he was threatening to hurt himself. The Dr. called him back, and he passed whatever test the Dr. asked of him. He is smart enough to pass whatever test the hospital and Dr. give him, but we see a totally different person whenever we are with him. We are, quite literally, out of ideas. On another note- my husband just found out his prostate cancer has returned for the 2d. time, my BIL has Parkinson's, and just had the deep brain stimulation. We all need to try to get ourselves back to health, but feel a deep family commitment to help him.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Yup, Staceyb. I think this is a pretty reliable system we've got going here, where someone is always around in a crisis. I can remember last time mom was in the hospital, sitting on the floor of her room, typing furiously and getting fabulous advice from, I think Jeanne and Churchmouse. Whoever is around gets the job done!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Anytime, staceyb - anytime!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Bab, Rainmom, GA, you guys ROCK, and would want to all to be fighting in My Corner, should I ever need you! And who knows, someday I might!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Shan, hope you and DH are hanging in. Let us know how you are.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Shan, I don't want to complicate the situation, but someone should contact the agency providing home care and PT and make sure you're comfortable with them. Sometimes you can tell just by whether they seriously answer your questions or respond with pre-programed marketing responses.

You have a right to choose your own home care agency. If you have a trusted doctor, ask one of his staff - I got recommendations from one of the best doctors we've had.

I also made some decisions based on interviews with home care reps; the last one was probably not a good choice; only the PT'ist and speech therapist were any good.

Babalou raises an excellent point on the hospital's incompetency Dx but now they're pushing him out the door. That inconsistency is unexplainable and inexcusable. Use that to your advantage.

Hospital staff often can be hard to reach, so add a touch of emergency to your voice mail message, something to the effect that you're trying to work the situation out in a manner that's best suited for FIL without having to bring in outside sources (hint, hint) to intervene.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Oh, for crap sake! Send a thug to the hospital to get rid of your BIL and his wife! They will - if haven't already - take away any impact of all the work, effort you and your hubby have already done. The hospital SW, discharge planner and attending dr are all skipping around your fathers chart, breaking into a happy dance. Yeah!!! A unwitting sucker to pass the buck to!!! Have you asked BIL his plan for providing 25/7 care?
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Oh boy! Sounds like you need to get family memebers at the hospital to log in here, lol! Stay strong.

Temind them if they take him home (if they "sign for delivery" they are then responsible for keeping him safe, full time, from now on (probably not true, but it might give them pause....
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Yes, there was an original diagnosis of incompetency, we are pursuing this. My BIL and his wife are actually at the hospital, planning on bringing him home. The whole family has gone crazy. We have asked them to hold on until we talk some more with the hospital. The hospital has set up physical therapy at his home, but that is only maybe 45 minutes every other day. We are going up the chain of command at the hospital, but getting through to those people is impossible.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

NyS hospitals usually have a patient advocate.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Calling APS is a great idea! It's great you have a real social worker in your corner. Would they discharge him back to rehab?

I think perhaps you could ask for a 72 hour psych hold, perhaps in a specialized geripsych facility. They could get his meds stabilized there.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Thank you for the swift response. We have talked to the Social worker, the doctor, threatened a lawsuit. We are waiting to hear back from them. We have also talked to the social worker at the nursing home, she told us to call Adult Protective Services if they do release him. We may need to do that. Our next step is to talk to an administrator at the hospital if the Dr. and social worker cannot come up with a safe plan. Having dealt with the elderly and hospitals before, we know that they do not want to get "stuck" with an elderly patient. Back in 1993 we were caring for my 93 year old grandmother. The hospital sent her home, in a cab, at 3:00 in the morning, still in her hospital gown. There are now rules for that. Thank the good Lord.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

If you consult a lawyer you need to ask about pursuing emergency guardianship. See Pam's suggestion above.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Didn't th e hospital tell you last week he wasn't competent to make his own medical decisions?
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Agree with all of the above. Please point out that he is being discharged hime ALONE and that none of you are coming to pick him up
Ask for an assessmebt of his need for home care. Medication management. Ask for an OT to assess the home environment for safety. Ask about rehab.

What did the psych assessment show? Get the head of psychiatry on the phone and make sure they read the suicidal gesture in the record.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Shan, I just read your latest post.

YOU DO HAVE OPTIONS, but act quickly.

1. You should have received a Medicare notice of rights, something like that, on the first day. It advises of your rights to challenge a discharge. You have to call ASAP to preserve that right.

If you didn't get that notice, politely demand it now, even if you have to go beyond the nurse (it isn't often her responsibility). Hospitals are obligated to provide that notice of right to challenge a discharge.

2. Start moving up the chain of command. Go past the social worker, ask to speak immediately to the attending physician. If you don't get satisfactory answers, keep going, to the hospital administrator if you have to.

3. Ask the discharge planner specifically what their recommendations are. Is there any discussion of rehab, or is it assumed that the family will provide all the home care necessary?

4. Another source is to contact an attorney who has familiarity with this type of premature discharge, but you'll have to do a lot of calling. Another option is an ombudsperson, especially if the hospital has one.

5. And start documenting every contact in the hospital and make sure they see you documenting. If you have to bring in a laptop, make sure you get names, times, etc. That tends to send "liability" chills up the staff's individual and collective spines.

6. DO NOT sign the discharge instructions and if necessary write on them that you specifically disagree with the discharge decision.

7. You can also put them on the spot by asking them if they're short on beds and need to discharge him b/c they have new patients who need the beds. This will really put them on the spot, and I know for a fact it can be a consideration of discharge.


I had to do this last year when the now fired PCP recommended my father be discharged with pneumonia, too weak to walk, and on 6 liters of oxygen. I called my niece who's a nurse; she said the hospital at which she worked would NEVER discharge someone on 6 liters of oxygen and agreed I should challenge the decision.

I advised one of the nurse staff I would be challenging the discharge decision and wanted the attending physician replaced immediately, but before I even had a chance to call pursuant to the discharge rights notice, someone else became involved. It might have been a charge nurse - I don't recall w/o checking my notes.

The then fired PCP called me several times at home, backpedaling, blaming a nurse for misstatingi the situation, blah, blah, blah, but the bottom line was that he was more concerned about losing a patient and specifically asked if we would be continuing with his care post discharge. Obviously not!

I did manage to keep Dad in the hospital until he was more stabilized, but it was an unsetling experience.

Good luck, and don't take this crap from the social worker.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

Just another thought - have there been any medication changes since the first hospitalization? Perhaps there's an interaction between something he was taking and a new med.

Babalou, excellent suggestion. I had completely forgotten about hospital psychosis.

I recall when my father was in ICU during his long odyssey over a decade ago, one of the treating physicians or nurses (don't remember which) told us there also was a syndrome called ICU psychosis. I had commented on the number of machines beeping and bleating and jokingly queried if it didn't affect patients in some way.

Shan, given all the changes in your FIL's life recently, it might be overwhelming, and the complication of the beeping machines, hospital control, drastic change in daily activity, could be contributing to his current state of mind.

I think it would be a harmless "therapeutic fib" to raise the issue with him and suggest that perhaps his current hospitalization is contributing to unsettling him.

Babalou, you raise an interesting point as well. We've probably both read here on this forum that older people often suffer confusion after leaving a hospital. And generally, there's some discussion of dementia, with it having been complicated after anesthesia or hospitalization. Perhaps the real issue is hospital psychosis.

I recall that when I had an emergency appendectomy a few years ago, by the 3rd or 4th day I was so unsettled that I couldn't sleep. Most of it was b/c of the dry air and the miserably uncomfortable hospital bed, or so I thought at the time.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.