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Thread: Advice please

  1. #1

    Advice please

    We have been having concerns about my mother in law for some time now. Everyone in the family has noticed a deterioration in her memory, confusion, anxiety, depression, forgetting what day it is, being disorientated in familiar places, forgetting whether she has eaten / taken her medication and now not driving as the roads have changed! She has not been to the Dr, I dont know if its because she fears the diagnosis or is in denial or maybe is not even aware herself? She doesnt like going to the Dr about anything as she doesnt want to be a burden on them and always says there are people in more need than her. My sister in law has recently written to her GP to express our concern and make the GP aware of whats going on in the hope that they will call her in with an excuse so they can carry out a health check - will the GP do this following a letter from a family member? How will we know if they do follow up the letter due to patient confidentiality? What do we do if it appears nothing has been done?

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    England. Living near to Dad but not with him. Dad has Vas D.
    The GP has to tread a fine line between looking after his patient's best interests and respecting their confidentiality. Often this is a matter of experienced judgement and not an easy decision for the doctor. I was initially surprised how much Dad's GP was willing to discuss with me then I realised he'd gauged the situation perfectly and knew that Dad would want me to step into my mother's shoes and support him and look after him.

    If your MiL's GP doesn't do anything, there's little you can do until either your MiL has an accident or becomes physically ill (e.g. delirium accompanying urine infection) and has to go to hospital; or until she gets so bad that you can reasonably ask for her to be assessed with a view to being sectioned. This request normally needs to be by the 'nearest relative' and you will find lots of info about it on the Mind website.

    The only other possibility I can think of is if her memory is really bad, maybe you could book an appointment for her with the GP and then say it was her idea and she must have forgotten about it. Think up some sort of plausible reason. But this would involve lying and you may not be comfortable with that.

  3. #3
    Registered User Christin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Blog Entries
    Hello CEE, welcome to Talking Point.

    I am sorry to hear that your MIL is causing you some concern but agree it is good that someone has contacted her GP in this way. I hope they will follow this up.

    One thing that you can do is keep a diary of any concerns that you all have. It is often difficult to remember details and a dairy can be shown to the GP or other professionals.

    There is an AS factsheet re Diagnosing Dementia.

    Very best wishes to you all, please let us know how things go. x

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Blog Entries
    Hi Cee

    I am sorry to read about the problems your MIL is having.

    I think it is important that she gets to see her GP asap so that a diagnosis can be made and the correct medication is prescribed if deemed necessary. Early intervention is so important.

    I agree with Petrina, the GP has to be very careful as patient confidentiality is the line they must not cross.

    No one like going to the doctors but I think the ruse of the appointment and saying she must have forgotten is a good one. It is also important that someone goes with her. I know from my own mother she tells the doctor all sorts with me just sitting quietly very gently shaking my head to say no she does not

    Try and get things moving and let us know how she/you get on.

    Best Wishes and good luck

  5. #5
    Thank you all for your replies.

    I am aware that my MIL has recently been to the Dr with her partner regarding her hip but when she got there she said it was her chest. Her partner told the Dr that her hip had been getting worse and was told off by the Dr saying it was not his place to talk on my MIL's behalf and it is up to the patient to say if there are any other problems!

    I think the diary is a good idea in the short term and if the Dr is not able to act on the letter then one of us will need to accompany her to the Dr.

    Thank you again, its good to know there is somewhere to turn for advice.

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    When I first used to go the doctors with my husband before his diagnosis with AD he asked if I could go in with him and when he was having trouble remembering said to me "can you tell him".
    I also take my 84 year old dad to the GP and on the first occasion said to dad that I would stay outside in the waiting room. Dad seemed to want that but when it was his turn he said to me that I should come in with him as he has trouble hearing the GP sometimes.
    Your GP does not seem very helpful. I think maybe keep a diary of the problems and bring it with you and perhaps prime the doctor in advance. The doctors have sometimes asked dad since who I was and whether he wants me to go in with him but he says OK so it is never a problem. If the patient says they do not want you there then I think the doctor has to respect their wishes.
    If there are several GPs in the practice perhaps you could try a different one and see if you find someone more helpful.
    I persuaded my mum to go by telling her a little fib which was that all ladies of her age are supposed to go for an MOT type check with the doctor. Her response was "there's nothing wrong with me" which I responded to by telling her that would please the doctor and we would probably be in and out in no time. Actually when we got to the appointment it was the beginning of mum getting diagnosed with Vascular Dementia.
    On the plus side, once we got in the system seeing the Memory Clinic doctors there was never an issue about mum being accompanied and also she did not mind going as she thought they were going to do something to improve her memory.
    Good luck,


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