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What do you do when the person you are caring for needs to go to the ER but refuses to go?
Since this situation is not terribly rare, I thought I would comment. This person said he has no insurance, has terminal cancer and doesn’t do well on opioids or other similar pain medications. His concern is that his wife not be burdened with a lot of medical bills when the treatment in an ER would basically be palliative (treat the symptoms, not heal the disease) and wouldn’t help his problem. That was his situation.
At other times, people have different reasons for not going. It’s true that they often are financial. But not always. Some people just don’t want to go to the doctor for any reason. There are a host of reasons why people don’t want to go to the ER. To them, their reasons make sense. To you, they may not. Depending on your relationship and the situation, there isn’t much you can do.
You need to realize that no one is required to go to the ER if they are an adult and conscious. Obviously, if you are their parent and are responsible for them, you may want to insist that they go. That is up to you. But if they are uninsured and their problem is not a true emergency, or they refuse to go, there isn’t a lot that you can do!They will make their decisions and you will just have to accept them...and trust them to GOD. Click To Tweet
Call one of those nurse advice phone lines at a hospital for an intermediate plan that may help you or talk to the doctor on call for your doctor (who knows, you might get lucky and get your doctor!)
At some point, you need to trust them to GOD. I can say that it was interesting to watch the patients in my doctor’s practice who didn’t follow the rules and often were contrary. Frequently, they lasted longer than I anticipated. I don’t know how they endured so long! I will say that it was not uncommon for their caregivers to be very stressed!
As a caregiver, there are times you cannot allow yourself to get sucked into what is going on in their head or it will tear you apart! You and I also have to realize that there will come a time when the person we are caring for will die. We would like to think we can do a great job of caring for them and delay that time for a very long time. But we actually have no control over it at all! At some point, we must come to peace with the idea that they aren’t well and they are going to die. Whether they go to the ER at every incident of illness or not and get treatment, it will still happen. I don’t want this to sound uncaring. I want to take some pressure of conscientious caregivers. You will be very sad when you lose your loved one. But spending a lot of time fighting over taking him to the ER when he insists on not going may not be the way you want to spend your time.
Our goal in caring for them is not to keep them alive at all cost. Our goal is to love them and care for them well. It is not to feel frantic about keeping them alive. They will make their decisions and you will just have to accept them…and trust them to GOD.
There is one exception!
There is one exception to the rule of accepting another person’s decisions. The laws and protocols vary from state to state, but it relates to psychiatric problems. If the person is a danger to himself or others and refuses to get help, you may need to call the police in for assistance to get help for him. It is wise to know the laws ahead of time, but that isn’t always possible. Obviously, police may precipitate an even bigger incident, so you will want any potential weapons to be way out of the way as well as maintain your calmness as much as possible. Drama begets drama and you don’t want that in this kind of situation. Crying and pleading rarely helps in this kind of situation. Calm and cool heads are what is needed.
Do not be anxious about anything,
but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving
let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.