Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 Monica St John, Community Member, asks

Q: Dementia patient refuses to go to nursing home. What do we do?

It has been determined by my father's primary care doctor that he is in need of 24 hour care.  After testing my father's memory and cognitive functions he stated that we should start the process of getting him admitted to a nursing because my mother can no longer care for him alone.  The doctor stated that if my father refuses he must be declared incompetent by a judge.  How long will this process take?

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Answers (2)
Carol Bradley Bursack, Health Guide
6/16/10 8:33am

It can take some time. Hopefully, other methods will work, such as convinicing him that the caregiving could kill his wife and also reassuring him that he will not be "dumped and forgotten." His family, including his wife, will "be there" for him.

 

Court procedures are sometimes the only route, but it's expensive and takes some time. Good luck with this difficult transition.

Carol

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NC, Community Member
6/16/10 9:59am

Hi Monica,

 

Carol has said it well. I do think you may have other ways.

 

First of all, regarding the legal aspect:

Does your Dad have any health directive and has he given your Mom the power of attorney financially and in health directive? Given the POA on the health directive, the POA has a power to send him to a nursing home if he is not fit. The judge means guardianship and it is the last resort and it has lots of procedures and will take a long time. The POA should do the job.


Secondly, in terms of your father's wish to go: this is not something the legal procedure can help - the judge can only force him but it does not do any good for himself and he will still refuse to go and will still be upset once he is in the new place. So the thing to do is to calm him down and distract him and give him the reasons why he needs to go. e.g., his wife's health, a better house, cheaper expenses, structure in the new place, more friends, delicious food prepared by professional cooks... Also get him involved during the moving process by asking him what he would like to take with him and etc. Sometimes a little white lie can help.

 

This is what we are going through with my father-in-law but we have not completed the process as we are still waiting for a space in the new home. We just use the POA to make him go to the new home and we still have to make him think he is going to a nice home to be "with" us nearby.

 

Take care,

Nina

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HighlandHeather, Community Member
10/ 9/12 10:18am

Monica....I beg to disagree regarding the POA.  I am the Power of Attorney for my 84 year old sister who is suffering from dimentia and has a diagnosis of dimentia from her primary physician and a clinical neuropsychologist.  I am also her Health Care Proxy agent.   I have retained an elder care lawyer and have been advised that neither the POA or Health Care Proxy give me the power to have her placed in a managed care facility if she refuses to go.   I need to go the route of guardianship through the courts.  If you managed to use your POA with your father-in-law, your state may have different law applied.  Can't be done in New York.

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NC, Community Member
10/ 9/12 11:28am

I think the POA statement has to have this line that she allows the POA to send her to the nursing home. If there is no such line, the POA cannot force her to go. But it is not a good idea to send her to the nursing home by force. Tell her something tricky like she is going to the family's and then see how she feels in the NH. Also, if she is not very sick with memory loss, she may refuse to stay. It is not as simple as it is.


Regards,
NC

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Carol Bradley Bursack, Health Guide
10/ 9/12 12:40pm

You've made such a good point. Every state has slightly different laws regarding POA, Medicaid and many other issues caregivers must cope with. I'm asked so often for a simple answer, but it's impossible to say what will work in every state. There are just too many variations. Thanks for your input.

Carol

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By Monica St John, Community Member— Last Modified: 05/14/14, First Published: 06/15/10