You are here:

Hospice Care/Can't Mom change her mind?


I've been Mother's sole care provider for the past few years --- my siblings would not even help take Mom to the dr. when I had a conflicting dr. appt. myself - no help at all, not to mention no visits and few phone calls.

To make a long story short, a speech therapist at the hospital determined mother was aspirating and based on that Mom decided she didn't want a feeding tube like her sister had so decided for hospice care.  My brother, who was given Power of Attorney for Healthcare immediately took over all decisions for her care, even though he knew nothing about nothing.  That decision had been made a long time ago because mother knew I was too kind hearted and could never "pull the plug" on her.

When mmother got to the care home it was determined she was NOT aspirating (I knew she wasn't).  I thought that would be the end of her "comfort care" but no.  To my horror they had stopped all her regular medication - for heart, blood pressure, warfarin, namenda, etc., which in itself could kill her.  As if that wasn't enough they were drugging her with morphine, scopolamine, and albuterol.  I only found this out when a compassionate nurse left the chart in front of me while she cared for someone else since I was prohibited from obtaining any information on Mother's care.  My brother had left strict orders with the dr. nurses and everyone caring for Mother that they were not to discuss anything with me.

Mother signed a new Power of Attorney with two witnesses present appointing me as her Power of Attorney.  The care home refused to accept it, first because they said it came off the internet (strange that their admission papers they wanted me to sign also came off the internet and strange that they want me to sign the admission papers but not discuss her care with me?  Then they said the Power of Attorney had to be notarized.  I advised this was not true.  Then they stated it had to be signed by an advocate for the patient (social worker or ombudsman) and I stated that was only if the patient was in a skilled nursing facility at the time of signing and that was not the case.  It was when she was in the hospital.  As a final resort they said they would not accept it because their dr. had declared her  incompetent but how could that be when he hadn't even seen her yet?  Besides the fact she's NOT incompetent, only drugged.

My feeliing is mother is very close to death and I don't know if it's even reversible at this point --- and she has no terminal illness or underlying disease - they're killing her.  What would you suggest I do to force the facility to accept the power of attorney and allow me to make mother's healthcare decisions, including moving her immediately from this facility, and further to discuss mother's health with them since I'm the only person familiar with her health history.

Im so sorry about all of the things your having to deal with.  First a Dr will NOT declare someone as incompetent unless they see them and there is a lot more to it than what one Dr says.  Unfortunately it sounds like it might be too late for you to intervene on your moms behalf.  You need to call and attorney and get some legal advice.  Most attorneys will consult for free.  If you can get the power of attorney accepted you can do whatever you want regarding her care.  I strongly suggest you look at her condition and see if its worth it at this point.  You can also take the power of attorney to another hospice agency and see if they will evaluate her and tell you what's going on with her care and her prognosis at this point.  Its likely that you will fire the current agency so it would be good to find an agency you can trust.  They will also guide you as well.  Best of luck to you.

Hospice Care

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Sydney Humphrey


I can answer, provide information, recommend resources or offer examples relating to the majority of hospice, end of life care, death and dying, pain management and palliative care questions. My role in this forum is to provide help to others in the form of information and education.


My love for hospice started when I was honored with an opportunity to become a volunteer at age 15. My assignments varied from sitting with patients to house cleaning. Within six months I decided hospice was always going to be part of my life. I continued to volunteer while acquiring my Certified Nursing Assistant credentials. Once licensed I then began to work as a CNA for the same hospice agency. I applied to Nursing school with the intent on becoming a hospice nurse. During school I worked as a CNA and continued to volunteer. Upon graduation I secured a position as a Hospice Case Manager immediately. I loved that job and am proud to say I have had the honor of sharing the journey to a peaceful death with over 100 patients and their families. It has made me a better person in every way possible. I eventually moved up the career ladder and starting from the bottom in this industry has given me a unique perspective and allows me to have a higher level of understanding and compassion. I am now an Executive Administrator for a large hospice agency and incredibly happy with my career choice and current position but I do miss the hands on care that was such a big part of my life. As an Administrator I am able to mentor nurses that are new to the field and have watched awareness and respect for this industry grow and thrive.

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization Utah Nurses Association

I am a Certified Hospice and Paliative Care Nurse. I am certified to provide continuing education courses for health care professionals.

©2017 All rights reserved.