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Not only am a bad parent, I am also a bad child!

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
Mom (age 90 next week) had to move into a skilled nursing facility because she broke her hip, had a replacement, PT didn't work and now cannot walk. She has stroke-related dementia and has is incontinent.

As I was going through the admitting paperwork, I signed a statement refusing her the annual flu shots and, heavily underlining my additional written statement that she was NOT to get any vaccinations without my written & notorized approval).

The admitting director looked amazed when she saw that and asked if Mom was allergic. I said no, Mom simply was not to receive the flu shot or any other vaccines.

She smiled and explained to me, v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y (in case I didn't understand what I had just signed), that Mom would be at severe risk of major complications and even, with her voice lowered for effect - GASP - death should she contract the flu, especially at her advanced age.

I was fine with this (except her demeaning inflection) and, smiling right back, said I was well aware of the possible risks of the flu. I was also well aware of the risks of the influenza vaccine itself. I told her Mom hasn't gotten a flu shot in many, many years (since we began our education in the world of vaccines). It was her choice to refuse vaccines prior to her stroke and that I was continuing with her known desires.

I asked if this was going to be a problem with her being admitted. She said no, but suggested I really give this decision some serious thought, since Mom couldn't. Did I really, truly understand the risk I was taking with Mom's life?? Didn't I want ds (he was sitting there with us, reading and smiling quietly, as he listened to the propaganda) to know his grandma was being protected from catching a terrible disease and that his Mommy loves her Mommy and wants her to be safe? She said, afterall, being a good Mommy, I made sure that ds was up-to-date on HIS vaccinations, didn't I???? She actually said only a bad parent would ignore their child's required immunizations (and she winked at ds)!

I smiled and explained I was well aware of what is required and what is not, especially in our state which allows three different exemptions. I was well aware of the ingredients in vaccines and the treatments of the so-called vaccine-preventable diseases. And, in knowing all that, we don't vaccinate anyone in our family, especially ds, since he nearly died after receiving vaccinations when he was 7 months old.

Oh, the look on her face!!!

"Well," she said with an exaggerated sigh, "I hope you never have to see your loved ones suffer the unspeakable horrors and suffering of vaccine-preventable diseases. I've seen them. I remember measles and they were deadly and so were mumps. You can't imagine what whooping cough and scarlet fever are like!"

I smiled and said "I, too, remember mumps and measles (I had them the last time when I was 12). I had pertussis last year and there is no longer a vaccine in use for scarlet fever as it is treated with antibiotics (though I, too, had that when I was a baby). We are perfectly fine with our decision. Now, which room will Mom be in and can she be near the window??"

I wish you could have seen her face, it was priceless!

So, this past weekend. I was over visiting Mom. When I arrived, she was in the dining room, finishing her lunch. Sitting with her was an aide with a clipboard. Aide was asking Mom about the annual flu shot and did she want to receive one?? If so, she needed to sign a form, but she wanted Mom to know about the flu first.

I stayed back for a minute to see what transpired. The aide began telling Mom that, if she came down with the flu, she could cough hard enough to break ribs or get a hernia which could require surgery! She could get pneumonia and have to be on oxygen and in the hospital. Or, even worse, she could die from the flu, especially at her age. The hsot wouldn't hurt and was free, 'cause insurance pays for it!

Mom said (remember, Mom has stroke-related dementia and a 3-minute memory span), "Hell, no, I don't want a flu shot! Those things are bad news and I haven't had one in years! I'm not signing anything. Leave me alone!"

I just about split my sides controlling my laughter!

The aide looked shocked for a moment and started in, again, about how much she liked Mom and didn't want her to get sick....

I intervened and asked the aide, quietly, to step out into the hall with me. I told Mom I'd be right back (she looked at the aide and said to me, with a wicked smile, "Come back alone!").

With controlled anger (a low, angry voice has more power than yelling) I told her that under NO circumstances was she, or any other employee of the nursing center, to EVER ask Mom any questions as to her health care other than how she was feeling. ANY health care decisions are MINE to make, and they are to be asked/requested by the charge nurse, NOT an aide. I then asked to see the charge nurse.

When we got to the desk and then to the nurse's private office, I explained my anger about this. The charge nurse said they had asked the aides to contact each of the residents to explain to them about the annual flu shots being offered so they could understand the procedure.

I asked her to get Mom's file. She did and there, right inside the front cover, is the notation that Mom is not to receive ANY vaccinations. She said that, even if Mom had signed the form, they wouldn't have given her the shot as they would double-check the medical records first. What the aide had been doing was standard procedure.

I said I understood this, but questioned the idea behind asking anyone with dementia information that they might not be able to understand. She said they ask all the residents the same things so that none of them feel overlooked when they see the others being questioned. I just looked at her with wide open eyes and said, "Pressuring residents with fear tactics is cruel, I hope that this was just the way this one aide phrased everything and that you will explain that it is wrong. As of this meeting, STOP asking Mom these types of questions. Limit them to what she would like to eat, if she is comfortable or needs the bathroom and if there is anything positive they can do for her. Leave ALL medically-related questions to me, her Power Of Attorney For Health Care Decisions. Oh, and if she should "accidently" receive a flu shot, our attorney will be bringing it up with management."

Well, she looked pretty shocked about this and promised that it certainly would not happen. I asked that she note this conversation in Mom's medical record and requested a copy of the note, which she did.

I explained that I was angry, not at the caregivers personally, as they have been wonderful with Mom. It was about how a one-size-fits-all mentality does not work, in my opinion, in advanced skilled nursing facilities. Management needs to address this and I would be contacting them (and, that I would tell them that she had been very helpful and understanding). If aides have time to spend asking residents questions they are not in a postion to answer, maybe they could find something more useful for the aides to do. I said I was very pleased with the care Mom was receiving and happy she was in such a positive environment.

So, the meeting ended okay. I did phone them a few days later and asked when they plan on giving the annual flu shots and was told a specific date in October. I plan on being there, with Mom, that day (and the day before and after). I will also check her medical record later, in November, to see if there is any vaccination notation.

I have a meeting planned with the director of the residence in two weeks.

By the way, Mom's doctor is fine with our desire to skip the flu vaccination. He agrees that, at her age, it really isn't important. He noted this in her medical record, so they should comply. He's a sweetheart!
post #2 of 31
Go Mama!
post #3 of 31
You NEED to keep saying---Power Of Attorney For Health Care Decisions, Power Of Attorney For Health Care Decisions, Power Of Attorney For Health Care Decisions!!

AND keep after them until you get a copy of the note so that you can give a copy to our attorney.
post #4 of 31
You're so awesome!
post #5 of 31
Wow! How frickin' sad and infuriating that this happened. Seriously, what do you need to do? Tattoo "Do not give me any vaccines" on your Mom's arm? It's just exasperating!
post #6 of 31
If they don't want the resident to feel "left out" why don't they just chit chat about...the weather.
post #7 of 31
You are an amazing daughter and mama! Your mother is so lucky to have you to look out for her. Awesome story, OP. It sounds like these shameless vaccine-pushers aren't getting anything by you.

And I would definitely keep emphasizing not only your mother's legal right to refuse the flu shot, and your own power of attorney, and her own doctor's recommendation that she not get the flu shot, but the fact that it is absolutely cruel to try and intimidate a 90-year-old stroke victim with dementia into getting powerful pharmaceutical prophylactic drugs against her will. Harp on that point! What that aide did verges on elder abuse and no resident of that facility should have to endure it.

You rock.
post #8 of 31
Originally Posted by Emmeline II View Post
If they don't want the resident to feel "left out" why don't they just chit chat about...the weather.
That's exactly what I was thinking.
post #9 of 31
Good for you!!!
post #10 of 31
Wow, you are amazing! I hope when I am 90 my DD will be as outspoken about my care as you are for your sweet mother.
post #11 of 31
Since she has dementia, they should never be asking her to sign anything period.
post #12 of 31
As a former nursing home employee, I am positively APPALLED at their refusal to respect your mother's boundaries and self-determination. And how disgustingly exploitative to emotionally manipulate an elderly woman with dementia. It doesn't sound like you need to hear this, but you ARE a wonderful daughter for fighting to uphold your mother's wishes.
post #13 of 31
OMG. The fight is never over. Not only do we have to fight to keep our children safe from vaccination, but we have to continue the fight for our parents, and later for ourselves. How awful. See how pervasive this danger is?!
post #14 of 31
I would consider making a button or shirt for her that says, "I have a power of attorney for health care decisions. You can reach her at 516.555.1212" Just to keep it out in the open.

I think you did a great job!!!
post #15 of 31
Way to go!! And way to go to your mom!!! She may have dementia and not be fully there at times but when she is, she sounds like a spitfire!!
post #16 of 31
you are simply awesome.

If only the day would come when the words, "5,000-10,000 IU daily of vitamin D," are substituted for "flu shot".
post #17 of 31
good job! I hope I can be as strong as you if I'm ever in your position.
post #18 of 31
Good for you! My oldest got a very very mild case of scarlet fever (it was going around his school when he was in kindergarten) you get it from strep which I never knew. The PTA presidents daughter was out for about a month with SF we did not know Darian had it until he started to peel on his hands and feet. He had complained of a sore throat about 1.5 weeks prior and had a very low grade fever for just a day. The doctor confirmed the SF in him (we actually figured it out at home because of a trivia question on discovery health!) and my youngest and myself got just plain old strep from him we were also way sicker then my oldest was.

They treated him with antibiotics because he was positive with the throat culture and he missed the last couple days of school that year.
post #19 of 31
Wow, that admitting doctor was a piece of work. Kudos for refraining from violence.
post #20 of 31

Good for you, standing up to them so eloquently! I cannot believe they did all that and you are SO lucky that you were there to overhear that aide! What UAVs. I think you handled it amazingly, I hope they actually listen to you now.
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