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Advice needed re-MIL

(94 Posts)
pollyparrot Fri 21-Oct-16 13:31:26

DH and his DM have never had a great relationship. She's always been very difficult and very critical of DH. Over the years she's constantly attempted to get me to side with her over criticising my DH. I've always refused to go there and she's never liked it, so there's a fair bit of animosity going on. We're the only family locally. She has two granddaughters, sadly their mum died years ago, but they live far away.

Her health is fading, yet she's always been fiercely independent. She's getting more difficult and demanding. DH has just retired and we have a caravan. We want to enjoy our retirement now and this is really important as I've had cancer and one or two other health issues.

She's in hospital and I've just had a call from her asking if I can pick her up as she's being discharged. She says they're sending her home with a commode. DH is away from home all day to day sorting something out. She can't walk and I'm not strong enough to pick her up, let alone a commode. We're astonished that she's being discharged as she's not well still. We're also wondering who is supposed to empty the commode. It's not DH's bag and I certainly cannot do it. What's more we've got so many plans for time away in our caravan.

I'm stressed, as I cannot see any solution. DH does the right thing for her, for the most part but he's still eaten up with sadness over the way she has treated him.


FarNorth Fri 21-Oct-16 13:38:07

The hospital wants her discharged and is hoping that some relatives or friends will feel obliged to take responsibility.

If you are not able to take on doing the care that your MiL needs, make sure she knows that, and do not go to collect her.

Ask her to tell the hospital to make sure that proper care arrangements are made for her before she goes home.

DaphneBroon Fri 21-Oct-16 13:39:14

I assume a home assessment has been done by occupational therapy or SS, if not, she cannot be discharged unless conditions at home are acceptable. If she can't walk you would not be expected to literally pick her up!
Has a system of careers been set in place? Commodes and other "aids" are generally delivered to the patient's property. So what is being set up for her care when, for instance you are away?
Finally you seem very worried about emptying a commode, saying it's "not DH's bag" - sadly that can be the least of the indignities an elderly person can experience.

pollyparrot Fri 21-Oct-16 13:43:19

No assessments have been made. Caring for his DM personal needs is just a step too far for DH. Perhaps I didn't make it clear how unhappy he is with her.

DaphneBroon Fri 21-Oct-16 13:47:50

Oh you made it perfectly clear, pollyparrot.
Poor DM/MIL. sad

GillT57 Fri 21-Oct-16 13:48:41

If there is no care plan in place then your MiL cannot be discharged from hospital. If she lives on her own the hospital Social care dept will have to get carers in place before discharge. We all know that hospitals are up against it, trying to discharge patients before they are really ready, to free up beds, but this is not your fault. If she cannot walk then frankly a commode is not much use anyway. Do not be bullied by the hospital or by your MiL into taking responsibility for her care, you have your own health and life to live, visiting, shopping etc are one thing but care of an immobile grumpy old woman ( sorry) who likely will not be grateful is taking it too far.

pollyparrot Fri 21-Oct-16 14:04:38

Jesus Daphne, you wouldn't believe how nasty she can be. It's ok you feeling sorry for her, you haven't the least idea what's she like. And it's nothing to do with her age, she been nasty for years. Spiteful, manipulative, scheming, secretive, down right rude, hurtful, critical, and that's all on a good day. My DH is an absolute saint to still have anything to do with her.

Thanks for all the really lovely helpful advice everyone.

felice Fri 21-Oct-16 14:07:22

I would call the hospital and ask to speak to the ward sister, explain your circumstances and ask why MIL is being discharged when a care package is not in place.
As the call came from MIL it could be she who just wants to get out of the hospital.
Make it clear that you are not able to be a full time carer to MIL, the hospital my Mother was in before DS2 found a good care home for her were constantly calling me to ask if I could 'just look after her until a care home was found'.
Or call the local SS yourself and explain the situation, the local council were very helpful and approachable with my Mum.

Teetime Fri 21-Oct-16 14:07:25

I would ask the hospital Discharge Co-Ordinator and or the hospital social worker to ring me and just tell them you cannot will not pick her up - its not your responsibility they have the duty of care.

pollyparrot Fri 21-Oct-16 14:25:52

I think MIL does want to come home and I don't blame her for that, hospitals are horrible places. I do feel sorry for her but I can't really do much myself. I don't want to put pressure on DH, he has to make his own decisions in light of their very strained relationship.

Thanks for the advice ladies, it's very much appreciated.

DaphneBroon Fri 21-Oct-16 14:38:01

Calm down pollyparrot if you read my post you will see that I also asked about an assessment regarding your MIL's ability to live alone.
You say none has been done and seem to assume that your DH /you are responsible for your MIL's personal care - -all or nothing. Emptying a commode is the least of it, but there are those (usually) wonderful underpaid people called Carers.
Insist on this assessment being done, have the house assessed for disability aids and carer needs. If she has nursing needs, depending on why she was in hospital this may be met out of Continuing Care, but that is a minefield and requires tenacity.
You(or she) may have to pay for it depending on your MIL's means but that is hardly asking too much for someone reliable who will relieve you of this responsibility.
So stop panicking, and if you can, try to separate out feelings of animosity from some feelings of pity for an old woman - crabby or not - whomis fiercely independent in her mind, butt sadly no longer in her body.

grannypiper Fri 21-Oct-16 14:55:56

pollyparrot, hope your ok,sounds like you have been a saint but there is only so much one person can take, tell the hospital to sort it.

Jalima Fri 21-Oct-16 15:12:26

It sounds as if she told them that it was OK, that her son and DIL would be able to care for her but perhaps I'm wrong.

I know a very elderly relative was kept in hospital for a while recently until a care home could be found for her; there was only her very elderly husband at home and no very close relatives.
They need to set up a care package before she is discharged.

I had to do all that for my DM but it is different when it's your own mother.

Smileless2012 Fri 21-Oct-16 15:35:21

My mother fell and broke her arm a couple of years ago. She does virtually nothing for herself even though there was a time when she, could but preferred my step father and now since he died, my brother who lives with her to do it all.

SS did a home visit to say what, if any aids were required but before these were put in place, the hospital 'phoned my brother saying she was coming home that afternoonshock. I spoke to the ward Sister and said the house wasn't ready and she told me she needed the bed and couldn't be expected to keep my mum there because SS were behind.

I told her that if they sent my mum home, I'd send her straight back (poor mum). Miraculously a bed was found for her in a nursing home where she stayed for 2 weeks.

Several years ago she got bowel cancer and has been left with an illyostomy (sorry, don't know the correct spelling) and has a lot of problems with her personal hygiene. My brother bless him, helps her with the unpleasant duties when things go wrong but it's my understanding that there are some tasks a son shouldn't be expected to undertake for his mother due to the embarrassment caused to both parties, if both aren't comfortable with the arrangement.

I don't know, but perhaps emptying a commode would be viewed in this way.

I'm sorry for your dilemma pollyparrot and hope that a resolution can be found.

Jayanna9040 Fri 21-Oct-16 15:35:32

If you pick her up you will be designated her main carer and once she is in your care you will find it very difficult to get any help. Believe me, I know. I hope that by now you have told the hospital that you and your husband cannot take on this responsibility. Please let us know.
She will continue to behave in a vile way towards your husband and there will be no escape.

M0nica Fri 21-Oct-16 17:19:54

Polly as others have said, your MiL cannot be discharged until there has been a full assessment of her needs and made arrangements for her care.

However, this will not stop hospitals trying to get you to agree to have her discharged to your care without the assessment and the provision of a needs package. It is perhaps useful that you and your DH dislike her so much as emotional blackmail is part of a hospitals armoury for getting patients out without assessment. I had this with an uncle.

The discharge nurse rang me up. She knew how much I cared for my uncle, how much he wanted to get out, couldn't I manage to perhaps have him home to convalesce with me for a few weeks, etc etc. Fortunately my uncle's GP practise had an excellent psychiatric nurse who had already been in touch and warned me that this would happen, so I just said, no, no, no, my uncle's discharge must follow proper procedures. In the end it was agreed he needed to move to a care home and when a place was found he was discharged.

Iam64 Fri 21-Oct-16 19:04:08

My experience is that the ward in hospital will decide the patient no longer needs nursing care but may need 'social care'. They then discharge the patient. This has become more likely as resources have diminished. They should of course ensure a social work assessment has taken place. The social worker would always contact family members.
If that hasn't happened, its up to the family to insist does. Tough, but there it is.

etheltbags1 Fri 21-Oct-16 19:36:12

I have learned a lot from this thread, I didn't realise that such things happened. I sympathise with the OP, there is a vast difference to regular visits and continual caring day after day. Good luck to Polly

FarNorth Fri 21-Oct-16 19:52:57

Quite apart from the pressure on relatives, it may be detrimental for the patient to be pushed into an unsuitable living situation, where they are looked after by people who were unprepared and possibly unable to do it properly.

RedheadedMommy Fri 21-Oct-16 20:22:38

Been where you are OP.

Has she been discharged? Or has she discharged herself?

Your MIL has might of been assessed and can manage on her own or she has gave them the impression you and your DH will care for her.

She will need to be a assessed and a care package put in place. She will need a social worker. Ss round here are useless so we have got a private care package put in place. It can take months.

I had to empty commodes (they are really heavy) clean, wash/tidy, manage shopping/bills, cook 3 meals and god knows what else for a selfish, rude, self centred relative and there is nothing worse. Do not do it.

It's emotionally and physically draining, make it crystal clear that you have not signed up for it.

Luckygirl Fri 21-Oct-16 20:48:18

There has to be a proper discharge plan for vulnerable elderly people. They cannot do this. Say No. Ask to see the assessments.

pollyparrot Fri 21-Oct-16 20:52:12

Thanks for all the really great advice. My DH is at the hospital right now collecting her. She has insisted she is coming home.

I certainly cannot sign up to look after her. I'm not physically strong following having cancer. She rang me on my mobile this afternoon and left a message begging me to call her. I rang DH and he said not to 'phone her as she would badger me to collect her and I just cannot do it.

I don't know how he'll get her out and into the car. She can't walk and I don't know if there's wheel chairs or porters available at this time in the evening.

Everything is a mess. The GP and the district nurses have been useless although it's really difficult to tell as MIL sabotages what we try and do. She's in a lot of pain and I asked her if she'd told the district nurses. She said she didn't have too, because they knew.

She told DH that the ward was really busy and they needed her bed for someone else. I don't know what will happen next. The trouble is she's extremely difficult.

Thanks again for the support on here.

DaphneBroon Fri 21-Oct-16 21:03:35

Oh dear. You are somewhat stuck now aren't you? Can she live at home? What on earth are you going to do?
Please, please involve occupational,therapy, social services, your GP and the District Nurse service AND organise a visiting carer(s) as an absolute minimum.
It is too late now to say she should not have been discharged, but she shouldn't and all it will take is one fall, perhaps trying to get to,the commode in the night, and she will be back via A&E.
If you get a second chance please take on board all that has been said on here about assessments. Listen to the voices of experience!

RedheadedMommy Fri 21-Oct-16 21:03:48

If you or DH can talk to her social worker, she cannot be dischared without one (or atleast thats what happens where i live) make a list of her meds, what is wrong with her, what her mind frame is like, can she take her meds unaided?
What care she needs, that you and DH cant care for her as you had cancer etc.

If she can't walk she will need someone at home. I cant beleive they have sent her home if she isn't mobile! My relative had weeks of rehabilitation and physio before she came home.

RedheadedMommy Fri 21-Oct-16 21:07:50

She also went from hospital into a rehabilitation centre. She was assessed numerous times and had a care package in place beofre they sent her home. She was in for about 5 months. Something doesn't sound right.