Blog Posts, Menopausal Mutterings

The Law is an ass!

The saga of Mum’s care continues to take new and unexpected turns. As you know, the poor woman has been in hospital, moved to a community hospital and now found to be ‘too well’ to stay with there. Given that she has stage 4 breast cancer and vascular dementia (yes, that was one of the interesting turns last week), it seems absurd to describer her as a well person. The medical team have referred her case to the social work department to decide what happens from now on.

As an important reminder, Mum has vascular dementia and has been declared unable to make informed decisions about her care and welfare. My Dad has full power of attorney, covering her finances and medical/housing issues already in place. So you’re acquainted with the key facts. You will be amazed at the call I received on Monday morning from Mum’s appointed welfare officer. Amazed and puzzled at the outcome.

After delving into my background and my mother’s background and recent health issues, he informed me that he would be visiting Mum shortly to ascertain her wishes regarding her future care. To say I was shocked is an understatement. Nobody from our family has been allowed to visit Mum, but this stranger can. Just to be clear in my mind I asked him what he planned to discuss with Mum given her dementia. To my horror, he plans to ask her what her wishes are regarding her continuing care. I reminded him again of the doctor’s findings an declaration on her records. He said none of that matters. If she says she wants to go home (which she will) he must act on this.

Stunned silence.

The upshot of the legal system is, that even though Mum has been declared unfit to make her own informed decisions, the welfare officer is duty-bound to abide by her wishes… unless my Dad applies for welfare guardianship! This is a whole new level of legal red tape for poor Dad to navigate through.

Astounded, I asked the following – Given that the medical team have declared her needs too great to be cared for at home, if Mum says that’s where she wants to go, you will go against all medical advice, the power of attorney counts for nothing, and she could be sent home.

Yes. That’s exactly the case. Unbelievable. You can imagine the extra stress that has placed on Dad as well as my sister and I. I told him that Dad is booked in for further cancer surgery and would require care himself when he comes home to recuperate, but this fell on deaf ears.

The big meeting between the officer and Mum is set for next week, with a follow-up meeting to include my sister and I to support Dad.  Already my anxiety levels have pushed beyond defcon 10.

I state again, the law is an ass!