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liz8100 06-19-2019 09:03 PM

Mother lets father make all decisions even when he's confused
I don't know the best board this need to go on but since my dad just entered the hospice program and is clearly showing signs of getting close to the end, I posted here.

My question is how far does a person have to go to start making decisions for a sick, dying patient when the patient is confused? My dad has cancer and is clearly confused. He says one thing then another thing later or he makes a decision then decides another thing afterwards. The other day, my dad was feeling pretty bad and requested hospice because he felt like he was getting close to the end. The home health care nurse agreed to have it set up. He's been confused for months and because of how he was feeling then that's probably why he wanted hospice. Now he wants an MRI done to just check on the progression of the cancer and we were just told he can't have the MRI done because he's in the hospice program and he's been told that he can get out of hospice care anytime if he's not satisfied. He's only allowed ONE chance to make that decision, meaning he can get an MRI once he's out of the hospice program. If he changes his mind again and doesn't want an MRI then want it, he won't be able to get an MRI. It's a bit confusing but I think that's how it works.

So I think my dad has trouble understanding that he has to make decisions like this seriously or he's unable to do so because he's confused and changing his mind all the time. My mother is letting this happen. She's like, "whatever you decide, I'll support you." She's letting him make decisions that could affect his health and I don't think she should be because he wants one thing done for one moment then moments or days later, he doesn't. It's like she thinks he's fit and competent and going to support whatever he wants, even if it means going back and forth on decisions many times and messing something up like getting in or out of hospice. He seems to think he understands how something works like with whether MRI is approved by insurance or how it works whether getting out of hospice or staying in then days later, he changes his mind. Clearly, he didn't understand that once he's in hospice, he can't get an MRI and my mother either didn't explain that to him at the time or she did and she's just letting him do whatever, wasting people's times, getting him enrolled in the hospice care then getting him out because he wants an MRI because he didn't understand that being in hospice care meant no MRI or any tests at all.

Without an MRI, there's no way to know if the cancer has progressed. Bloodwork has been fine but it doesn't tell the whole story. I'm for whatever they want to do but I don't think my dad should be allowed to make decisions if he can't make up his mind because of his confusion. My mother should be making the decisions for him because he's clearly not fit to think clearly and she won't do it. She has health power of attorney and I don't know what for if she's letting him making all kinds of health decisions.

yayagirl 06-19-2019 09:37 PM

Re: Mother lets father make all decisions even when he's confused
Dear liz,

I am so sorry you are in this situation with your father! Having no control is a horrible thing to go through, and so is the process of losing a loved one.

I used to be a hospice volunteer caregiver for support to patients and family members during the passing away process. (I am not any kind of professional medical personnel.) The decision to put a patient in hospice care is carefully made. I assure you that patients are not accepted for hospice care until it is known they are in fact in the dying process. Sadly, how long that process will take is usually not known for sure. Some people do linger much longer than others.

If you wish, do tell your dear daddy whatever you want him to know. I believe as long as he is alive that he still can hear. That would be a great comfort to you both.


Titchou 06-20-2019 03:53 AM

Re: Mother lets father make all decisions even when he's confused
Perhaps having your mother talk with his doctor would provide clarity for her.

MSNik 06-20-2019 08:19 PM

Re: Mother lets father make all decisions even when he's confused
Liz, the rules for being accepted on hospice are very rigid and the same in all states....your father could not be on hospice if the prognosis was that he was at least 6 months from the end...I just went through this with my own father who passed away (on hospice) 6 weeks ago.

When a patient is on hospice, insurance will not allow any tests or aggressive treatments- only comfort measures, which is why you are being told he cannot have the MRI...he can come off hospice to have the test, but the insurance may still deny it based on his condition and the fact that he qualified for hospice.

Patients can go on hospice, go off it and go back on it. Happened to my dad.

As far as your mother making decisions, do you know if she has a written power of attorney/ This means that when your father can no longer make decisions, someone has to step in and it is usually the wife, although in my case, it was me because my father chose me over his second wife...
The hospice medical doctor as well as the nurse will talk to your mom if they feel she is making bad may be that your mother is fully aware that your dad isn't making good ones- but she wants his end of life to be peaceful and doesn't want to say no to him to keep the peace.

Talk to your mom...ask her about power of attorney and if she is prepared to make decisions when your dad cant.... it really doesn't matter if you feel he is making bad decisions right now- he is still able to a certain extent, to be able to decide what he wants - and no one is going to take that away from him...when the time comes that the hospice people honestly feel he cant make those decisions, they will be looking for your mom (or whoever has POA) to make them.
Remember, this is a terribly hard time for your mom...try to support her and keep the peace. Youll know when the time comes to really push for decisions you can all live with.

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