Suggestions on how to get a cared for person to see a Doctor

Discussion in 'Middle - later stages of dementia' started by JaneP2657, Oct 9, 2019.

  1. JaneP2657

    JaneP2657 New member

    Oct 9, 2019
    I am a carer for my Aunt who is showing classic middle / later stage dementia symptoms. She has never had a diagnosis - she hasnt seen a Doctor since 1976 and is adamant that she will not see one now, despite having problems with swelling and significant discolouration of her lower limbs, not eating or drinking at an ideal level, reduced mobility on her RH arm and shoulder following being hit on that side by a solid Oak Hymn board (dont ask!!) and significant memory problems and aggitation (especially in the afternoon/ evening), severe paranoia - she now believes that people are starting to follow her home and not just watching her, unable to cope with any changes in her routine and obsessive behaviour - to name but a few. I know that I cannot drag her to the surgery and will probably have to wait for her to enter a crisis situation before we can get her any real help but if anyone has any good hints / tips/ suggestions on how to persuade her to see a doctor then I am open to any ideas! She wont let strangers into her flat- I am the only person she properly trusts and I dont want to damage that relationship as it is the only thing we can currently use to keep her safe.
  2. karaokePete

    karaokePete Registered User

    Jul 23, 2017
    N Ireland
    Hello @JaneP2657 you are welcome here and I hope you find the forum to be a friendly and supportive place.

    I hope you have time to take a good look around the site as it is a goldmine for information. When I first joined I read old threads for information but then found the AS Publications list. If you are interested in this, clicking the following link will take you there

    You will see that there are Factsheets that will help with things like getting care needs assessments, deciding the level of care required and sorting out useful things like Wills, Power of Attorney etc., if any of that hasn't already been done. There is also a Dementia Guide in the list.

    Now that you have found us I hope you will keep posting as the membership has vast collective knowledge and experience.

    I know some people have had success at getting the GP involved by having the person called in for a 'wellwoman' type check(the will sometimes obey authority) or, even, by being told that the help is for you as you need someone to assist in the caring. I suppose a home visit is out of the question.
  3. Andrew_McP

    Andrew_McP Registered User

    Mar 2, 2016
    South Northwest
    The usual tactic is to write to their doctor with details of your concerns and ask them if they could invite your relative in for a 'routine check' which you might be able to accompany them to. The doctor won't be able to discuss any of this with you or reply to you unless you have Power of Attorney, but most reasonable doctors will be familiar with these circumstances and know that their job, as healthcare 'gateway', isn't going to get easier if you're right. The sooner these concerns are addressed, the better for everyone.

    Good luck. There are no easy stages with dementia... the struggles just morph from one mind-bending, teeth-gnashing, sleep-destroying headache to another. But the early stages can be extremely tough, because you often feel like you're the only person in the whole world who knows and is in a position to help. That's a lot of responsibility.

    I suppose if your aunt refuses to go, the surgery might be able to arrange a home visit, but coordinating that so that you're there to make sure there's a chance they can get in might be tricky if the surgery can't interact with you directly. Hopefully someone else will have some good ideas.

    You're right though. Often it's a crisis of some kind which kickstarts the diagnosis process. It's hard to sit back and wait for that though. It's like playing Russian roulette with infinite spins of the barrel... soul destroying.
  4. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Even if you cant get her to see the doctor I think it is important to tell the GP what is going on, so that if something happens he/she will be aware of your concerns.
    If you write a letter it will go into your aunts records and the doctor will be able to see it. They might decide to do a home visit, but even if they dont, it will be there for the inevitable crisis
  5. JaneP2657

    JaneP2657 New member

    Oct 9, 2019
    Thanks to you both for replying. Im lucky, I have already spoken to the GP (after she was 'found' at 1am by a local Fire Engine.... did you know that the Fire Brigade are probably the only service that wont automatically take someone to hospital if they are found in a state of confusion - they wait for someone else to help!. Anyway, she is still not aware that there was a great big fire tender parked blocking the road next to her - she just thought the 2 young men were very nice to talk to her!) and the GP has said if I can get her there they will give her an appointment on the same day - but I just cant get her there... even the warden at her sheltered housing cant get a positive answer from her, she has never accepted being told to do anything and that particular character trait has certainly been enhanced.
  6. Sirena

    Sirena Registered User

    Feb 27, 2018
    It's good the GP is aware. Would s/he do a home visit? Or would he be refused entry anyway?
    Unfortunately though the GP would only be the first link in the chain, she'd very likely need referring for the dementia and also her physical problems, so even if he saw her it may not be that helpful.
  7. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    hello @JaneP2657
    welcome from me too
    until I read your closing sentence, I was thinking of slightly underhand ways to get her to see her GP, but as you say she trusts you and you don't want to risk your relationship, they may not not suit
    just in case, here they are
    make an appointment for her (a long one) but tell her that it's for you and you'd really appreciate her company as you are a bit nervous, and you plan to treat yourself afterwards to tea and cake and you'd like her to share that with you ... or, make the appointment, don't tell her but take her out for a treat and on the way just 'have to pop in to the GP to pick up a prescription (or other small thing) and ask her to hold your hand ... the GP sounds understanding, so maybe prime them beforehand and they can have a cursory chat with you then say how lovely it is to meet your aunt and take it from there
    I guess she doesn't even go for the fred flu jabs ... would she this year, if you say you are worried because this year's strain is a bad one?
  8. myss

    myss Registered User

    Jan 14, 2018
    HI @JaneP2657 Welcome to the forum. I'm quoting Sirena's post as this was the first thing I thought too when I read your opening post. I know you said that your aunt doesn't allow people in her home, perhaps you could be around to let the doctor or disitrict nurse in (if they do home calls). You possibly come round at the same time as the visit and say the GP/nurse is a friend of yours if your aunt is uncomfortable with such a visit.
  9. Lawson58

    Lawson58 Registered User

    You don't say how old your aunt is but that's a very long time to go without seeing a doctor. To be honest, I think I would be more concerned about the swelling and discoloration on her legs than all the other disturbing symptoms and behaviour. That sounds more like a heart/circulation problem which might be more of a pressing problem.

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