Q and A: How can I get my mother to go to the hospital against her will to determine her dementia status?

Please note: Information in this post is not meant to be construed as medical advice. For medical advice for your own personal situation, please contact your doctor or healthcare professional.

How can I get my mother to go to the hospital involuntarily to diagnose her Alzheimer's disease or dementia?

This is one of the most tragic and frustrating situations a family has to encounter. I am very familiar with the feeling of helplessness that comes with the care of people with dementia. Trying to reason with a person that can not make reasonable decisions, on their own behalf, is maddening.

Mom is living alone at home. You made her a promise, years ago, that you will do everything within your power to accommodate her wish. That promise was made when she wasn’t experiencing age-related illnesses. That promise was made when you couldn’t foresee the day that she may not be able to perform self-care and her cognition would be impaired.

Before one knows it, Mom isn’t looking really well kept lately. She is sleeping a lot. The food in the refrigerator is noticeably out of date. The mail is piling up. Her medication refills are outpacing the used bottles. Is that the same blue blouse she had on last week when you visited?

This is a relatively new scenario for your family, so not a crisis. A good caregiver may be the answer. Someone that will come in as a surrogate daughter and help manage her daily life and care, is a prudent choice. At least it will buy your family time, to explore options for a long-term solution.

During this time, hopefully, you have contacted her doctor and made that person aware of the situation. You will need the background of your mom’s history and competency as noted by her physician. This decline in mom’s cognition may have been going on longer than you realize.

Make sure that you have exhausted all plan of care avenues because getting a person an evaluation, against their will, is not easy, or quick. Thank God we live in America!

There are ways of going to a magistrate at the police station, (Virginia) to obtain an Emergency Custody Order, (ECO), Temporary Detention Order, (TDO), and Commitment Hearing. Each order is spelled out in your states Civil Commitment Laws or legislation equivalent to this.

Make certain that you have researched all of your options and are well educated in the end results of your actions. This is not an easy decision and one you will have to live with as a person, for your entire life. Someday, someone may be asking people for this advice, in dealing with you.

About the Author: Michelle L. Belton is the owner of Companion Home Care Inc, providing non-medical senior home care in Roanoke, VA since 2004. She is a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP) and has been caring for seniors with Alzheimer's disease and dementia for over 15 years.

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