HSE secures order keeping elderly woman in hospital

Daughter ‘hostile and irate’ with medical staff over mother with dementia

Andrea Callan BL, for the family, said they were anxious the woman’s GP have an input into the treatment programme on her transfer to the nursing home, and that the family had concerns that a particular medication being administered for anxiety was not appropriate for people with a heart condition. File photograph: Getty Images

Andrea Callan BL, for the family, said they were anxious the woman’s GP have an input into the treatment programme on her transfer to the nursing home, and that the family had concerns that a particular medication being administered for anxiety was not appropriate for people with a heart condition. File photograph: Getty Images

 

The daughter and husband of an elderly woman with dementia and other serious health difficulties have agreed to be bound by High Court orders restraining her removal from a hospital.

They have also agreed not to interfere with her medication and to facilitate her transfer, when appropriate, to a nursing home.

The orders were sought by the HSE last week after hospital staff expressed serious concerns for the mother’s welfare after her daughter became “hostile and irate”, removed her from hospital against medical advice and brought her home.

The mother, who has a significant heart condition and is considered at high risk of falling, was readmitted to the hospital days later with a fast and irregular heart beat.

Her daughter eventually admitted to hospital staff she had not given her mother certain heart medication because she believed the medication was unnecessary.

That and earlier incidents between the daughter and the hospital prompted the application by Dr Paul Brady BL, for the HSE, made ex parte (one side only represented).

Medically appropriate

When the matter returned on Friday before the president of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, he was told the daughter and her father were prepared to give signed undertakings to be bound by the terms of the orders. They were also consenting to her transfer, whenever that was considered medically appropriate, to a residential care home and to make an application under the Fair Deal scheme.

Andrea Callan BL, for the family, said they were anxious the woman’s GP have an input into the treatment programme on her transfer to the nursing home, and that the family had concerns that a particular medication being administered for anxiety was not appropriate for people with a heart condition.

The judge welcomed the agreement to abide by his orders, which he said had been necessary to make last week so as to safeguard the mother’s life and welfare.

The evidence was that the mother, because of her heart condition, must have the medication her daughter had not administered because that medication was necessary to thin her blood, he said.

‘Bringing calm’

The undertakings offered by the daughter and her father would assist in “bringing calm” to a situation which up to then had been developing into a “very unhappy” one, doing no good for the mother, whose welfare was what he was concerned about.

He asked the HSE to sympathetically consider the family’s request for the GP’s involvement in the planned transfer to a nursing home.

Addressing the family’s concern over the anxiety medication, he said he would not get involved in clinical decisions concerning medication.

Dr Brady said the medication at issue was administered in a very low dose to reduce anxiety and distress, and was intended to be discontinued once the anxiety settled.

The judge has adjourned the matter for eight weeks, during which time steps in relation to an application to have the woman made a ward of court will be progressed.