Thoughts suggestions

sakalSeptember 17, 2006

I am my 82 yr old fathers legal guardian and primary caregiver. He has alzheimers. I am the youngest of 7 kids. Mom died 3 yrs ago. All the siblings live all over the country and world. I have a brother who lives 1 hr away, forget about help to a large degree.

Heres my problem. and question: My sibliings asked me, when dad is in the hospital, like a week ago with a heart issue. Would I trust them to relay the docs information back to me as well as the test results etc. if they where to come in and stay with dad.

Since I am wiht dad everyday take him to doc appts etc and know his health issues etc. Would I not be the best one to be with him at least he first day or two. to ensure the problems with dad are communicated directly from the caregiver? Who is the best person to communicate health issues to the docotrs. In a case where of a hospital ER occurance.

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I don't quite understand what the problem is. Perhaps I am misunderstanding the situation. You are your father's legal guardian. The Hospital and Doctors MUST deal with you instead of the others unless you allow otherwise. I don't think that you want to give up that guardianship.

I wonder why they make this request. It seems to me to be something else at work here other than just a chance to stay with him. They can always do that.

Perhaps, they don't trust you to relay complete information to them. Has that been a problem in the past? If not, why are they asking NOW, if you would trust them to relay information to you?

If they won't stay with him unless you agree that they will be the ones to get the information, I would question if they care about his well being or simply want to be in control of the situation. When it comes to information about a patient, the more people are aware of the true condition, the easier it is to accept it. Witholding information is never a good idea.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2006 at 9:58AM
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Sakal...The best person to communicate with the doctors and other health-care providers is the person who knows the ill person's situation best, be it him or a person like yourself.When the patient cannot reliably speak for himself, having a person like yourself can save a lot of trouble, if not be life-saving. You should retain that role/responsibility. That said, this seems like a good time to let them become (more) involved in his care. As the illness progresses, you are going to need all the help and support you can get. So I would urge you not to shut them out, but find smaller ways in which they can be of help.
The privacy laws may mean that the other family members cannot receive info from the care providers.
Everybody deserves their time with your Dad when they can be there, and he deserves his time with them. You all can work it out.
Good luck with this. Derry

    Bookmark   September 17, 2006 at 8:59PM
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Information is one thing, decisions are another. As stated above, the hospital/physicians MUST talk with you. You can add other family members to the list of who can ALSO be given information, but if you have Durable POA for Healthcare, you are the only one who can MAKE decisions for your father, so you have to receive accurate, timely information and make timely, appropriate decisions. Having an additional family member with POA for Healthcare would make your father's situation impossible, I would not recommend allowing it.

My sister and I took care of my parents at the end of their lives, she had POA for financial matters, I had it for healthcare, and it worked well. We trusted each other, and while we certainly consulted back and forth, we each were responsible for making decisions in our area of responsibility.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2006 at 9:12PM
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Thanks to everyone with their thoughts and suggestions. I have never denied them any time with dad. I have made sure of that. EXCEPT in the case where my sister in Egypt (the country of) wanted dada to stay with her for a while. I said nice thought bad Idea. I had the dads primary doctor write that due to dads heart health he is not to travel over seas.
I have called them, emailed them daily sometime hourly blow by blow of how dad was doing and what the doc jus said.
NOW, I have a brother in law who said i was unfit to care for dad. Sort of funny really. You see dad was really sick a year ago month rehab. So i left my sister to stay with dad it was clear he needed assistance walking. SHe does not give it and he falls, puttinghim behind in rehab. THis is the same sister who wanted dad to travel to Wyoming when he got out of rehab. I discussed what my sister wanted to do with dad. The doctor agreed he should not travel and wrote it for dad to stay in rehab longer.
As far as the getting involved more, they are as best as they can due to travel distance for them. I have one sister in Indiana who comes in for some doctor visits staying with dad, she calls for appts for me etc. The others can't come in due to money issues or something but they do come in and call him. I have also had them call dad when he is at home alone and I am out at work. Most time dad is in day care when i am at work.
NOW, I have always agreed that I am the best one to give medical info for dad when he is in the hospital and most doctor visits. ANy thing less would be WRONG and a dis service to dad. And DAME it is my appointed responsibilty legal guardian.
I do not like confilct in my family and around dad. I have been wearing down and doubting myself. They do not like to hear I am in charge of dad and his well being.
Please offer any other thoughts on this. I am caring for my father my self. and at times i need to hear from rational people who have no vested intrest in me or my father.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 12:07AM
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Let me add one thing---you need to have a back-up. Someone who can and will be there if you cannot be there. In my case, before Mother passed away, my youngest brother, who lives 500 miles away, was the back-up on all our paperwork. But he's had health problems and refused to travel to even visit his mother (he's alcoholic), and I got panicky thinking who would be my back-up. We were all set to have my husband step in, but it did require having the legal papers done properly. But before we could put that together, Mother got pneumonia and passed away.

But do make sure that you are covered by someone you trust. The paperwork does not have to say "you AND your brother" but rather, "you, unless you are unable to fulfil your duties (not because someone else wants in on it)". This covers you if you should, god forbid, be in a car accident or whatever.

So do consider having someone else on the paperwork to cover you. Someone who can and will be there ASAP, no arguing, and who has no vested interest. (Easier said than done, I think).

Good luck. This is never easy, but you are doing a wonderful job.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 10:52AM
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Again thanks for spending time on this issue. It means a great deal to me and pop.
My best to all.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 11:51PM
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