Can my S-in-law be forced to give her Dad injections

Hi All,
Hope it is okay for me to come onto your forum on behalf of my lovely sister-in-law, but she is at her wits end with her father.

She is an only child and has no one else to help with him. Her Mum passed away around 25 years ago & ever since then she has been ‘on permanent call’ to her bad tempered, rude Father who is making her life absolutely miserable. (Unfortunately, I’m too far away to help either)

I won’t list all the selfish and downright mean way he has treated her over the years, but her own health is severely damaged by him. At 53 she is more like a woman of 73 and he delights in telling her how old she looks…

He refuses to go into a home, insisting that she can look after him. Her driving licence was revoked because of her own health problems meaning a 2 bus journey, both ways to his house.

She has, in the last week, forced him to accept someone to come in & help with the cleaning, changing the bed sheets etc. He is not happy about it & has already claimed that they have stolen his pen. This is a lead up to cancelling the contact.

When she says that without the help he will have to go into a home, he just says “you can’t make me”.

Today, which is what sort me to try & seek help for her or at least advice, she took him to hospital for the results of his kidney function tests. He has an ongoing problem. The hospital have told her she has two options. 1) bring him into hospital every week for an injection or 2) inject him herself every week.

I can’t believe they are insisting on either of those for her.

She’s not a nurse.

We are fast approaching winter and there is no way she will be able to make that journey every week, at the same day & time, to either do the injection or to struggle to get him to the hospital in a wheelchair which he needs to go out.

Does anyone, please, have any thoughts or ideas that I can pass on?

Thanks for listening x

Hi Valerie,

First of all try to get your SIL to accept that no-one HAS to look after another adult, whatever the relationship. Not parent, spouse, sibling or adult child.
There’s no law or obligation to enforce it.

Secondly get her to practise that small but very powerful word.

Tell the hospital ‘no’, tell her dad ‘no’ and ignore any attempted coercion or persuasion from the hospital. She is quite within her rights.

On one level, there’s nothing stopping her walking away from her father and never returning.

That is probably an unlikely scenario and she might want to put some care in place and arrange for the injections to be given before she distances herself from her father for her own health and well being.
I suggest that she goes to see her own GP and explains the situation. Probably Dad has a different GP and unless SIL has POA for him/her she will be unable to discuss her father with them. Maybe her own GP can advise or there’s nothing stopping her writing a letter to Dad’s GP. Dad should have regular visits from a nurse trained to give injections.
Has Dad or SIL had assessments from Social Services? Does Dad get AA?

After so many years of being 'the good little girl/daughter, your SIL will find it very hard to shrug off that role. Counselling would help. However she has sacrificed enough of her life to ‘duty’ and a nasty man. She CAN chose to live her own life. She can say ‘NO’. Keep telling her that.

No. Encourage her to join this forum. Can you do it on her behalf or not? Is there anyone at the hospital who can do it? I can’t believe that they said that. Is it possible she misunderstood?

She must give up caring for him. He’s bullied her and deliberately destroyed her self esteem by manipulation. Time for her to have some counselling, and write a letter to his GP saying he’s all theirs, as his patient THEY are ultimately responsible for his health care, NOT HER!

Thanks for your replies. They do indeed have different doctors. Sadly, her has no interest in looking after their patients as far as that is concerned.

His is practically opposite his house which is why I can’t understand why they can’t send someone over to do it.

I know the practice nurse only works every other week but even that would be some sort of help. Surely the doctor himself could do the other one?

Sadly, not misunderstood, because she has to go back on Monday to be taught how to do the injection.

She has just told me that they want her to go & take his blood pressure regularly too.

I’m just shaking my head in disbelief here.

I live in, what is classed a different county for medical purposes and when my parents were ill, the health people visited my Mum in hospital and spoke to my Father, who insisted he could cope on his own. That his daughter lived close by (me). They then rang me to confirm if that was true about him coping. I said, no, it isn’t. I added that I wasn’t able to care for them due to my own problems, she was most surprised and said, we wouldn’t expect you to.

My s-in-law’s lot are a completely different kettle of fish.

She gets nothing from them.

Her father does get attendance allowance but won’t part with it.

She CANNOT be forced to go to learn how to do this, or anything else.

To answer your question I’m going to say no. You cannot force someone to care for their disabled relative. Can she afford a care home or not?

Hi again Valerie,
AS BB says your SIL cannot and must not be forced or persuaded to give injections, blood pressure checks or any other kind of medical or personal care.
To be blunt and sound horrible (which I’m not trying to be) she has to ‘grow some backbone’ and stand up for herself. She does NOT have to do any of this. If she chooses to because she wants to, or because she is so cowed by her father that she feels she must,if she will not or cannot say ‘no’ then there’s not much you can do other than hold her hand as she weeps.
Your SIL does have choices and could fight. A letter to the practise manager? Maybe others on here will suggest other authorities to contact. How about Age UK and Citizen’s Advice?
If your SIL is an only child, (now), who was the man who made her your SIL? Have you lost your husband or brother? Really sorry if so. (you do not have to answer that if you don’t want to).
Please tell her to go to her own GP to start with. Contact Social Services for a Carer’s assessment. Refuse to do the ‘medical’ things and please to start standing up to her father. If she withdraws her input what can he do other than accept carers etc? Shout? -it’s just noise and fades if she walks away rather than stand and take the abuse.
It’s about time she told Dad whathe has to do rather than the other way around. She could break the chains. She could be free. It’s up to her.

We all get the treatment we are prepared to put up with.
Father probably gets some sort of pleasure from being horrible and seeing her react, I knew someone else like this long ago.
If she wants permission to stand up to him, it’s hers!!!

Agree with all the replies. I am an only child and could have slept walked into a similar situation with my own late father. He had told the discharge team at the hospital that his daughter was his carer and lived over the road. It was very hard to write letters to his GP and tell the Discharge Team that THEY had a duty of care and that I would be CC the letter to my solicitor. So yes, your sister in law does need to stand up for herself. In her position, I would write to her father’s GP and say she is withdrawing care.

It is tough for her and i am honestly not judging. But the more she takes on, the higher the NHS raises the bar! I do agree very much that counselling would help and maybe getting in contact with the local Carers organisation for local support.

She has her own home so hopefully is not financially dependent on her father so whilst it will be hard, she does need to set bounderies re what she will and won’t do! I am glad she has you Valerie to offer support and she may well benefit on joining this Forum.

Thanks again to everyone for listening & replying.

I have sent my s-in-law copies of what has been said so that she can see that it’s not just me that thinks this is all wrong.

She is married to my Brother who is still with her but he works full time & quite often gets called to work in the middle of the night so there’s not a lot more he can do to help her.

Her father rings her constantly, shouting & swearing at the answer phone if she doesn’t pick it up immediately.

If she is out he rings her mobile.

If he can’t get through he rings my brother at work and pesters him.

The trouble is, when elderly parents ring you end up answering just in case this is the time that they really do need help.

She does actually say no more than she used to, which gives you some idea of what her life has been like so far.

I keep telling her that she will end up in hospital herself if this carries on. Or worse! I actually think a few days in hospital would do her good but she says ‘they’ won’t cope without her. They being her Dad, her Husband & her 3 grown up children (who won’t even speak to their grandfather let alone help her). Sadly, I think she is more concerned that they would cope without her. But that’s another story.

Today she is going to learn how to give him that injection. She says she hasn’t got a choice.

To put it bluntly, which I have done to try and make her see what this actually means, if she has to do his injection on, say, a Monday, then that is every single Monday written off for the rest of his life.

Dad needs a pendant alarm (via Social Services) so that if he is genuinely in need he can get help without calling her constantly.
Then she puts her answerphone on 24/7.
Stops answering ANY calls immediately without listening to the message first.
SHE is the one who calls the shots now, not him. Their roles are reversed, hers is to “parent” him, he’s become an “elderly toddler”. Not a name I like, but describes the situation well.

This is all wrong. You can buy a pendant clock online or in a shop and only let him use it when required. Would that work or not?

Hi again ,
I’m not sure what use a clock would be. Perhaps someone will explain.
My thoughts are that your SIL is is some kind of denial and ‘martyr mode’. (Not any kind of professional opinion).
I wonder if you have shown your brother this thread? If he is working all day and reluctant to ‘interfere’ with his wife and her management of her father, (understandable) then perhaps he has not realised how bad it is getting or how badly it could affect his wife’s health and their relationship. It’s very difficult for a spouse to ‘get between’ their wife/husband and the perceived duty of care and responsibility they feel is necessary to a parent.
However sometimes a caring grown child needs ‘permission’ to stand back and give over care to professionals. Needs to reassess their own needs and loyalties. To re-juggle their priorities and responsibilities. To accept that they need and deserve life of their own. Not easy.
Have you talked to your brother?

Since it sounds as if the injections could be given at the hospital (although her father wouldn’t like it!) could your s-i-l ask about patient transport so he could be taken there each time without her. (She might have to be pushy to organise it, but there is usually an official transport service for wheelchair users. With my husband I had to stress why he couldn’t use a taxi. There are also local charities which provide drivers, but I think they may not accept someone who needs a wheelchair.)

I am concerned about the likelihood of him cancelling the cleaners’/carers’ contract. However are you going to stop her doing all those jobs again if he does? (Sorry, that’s just a new problem, not an answer!)

The district nurse team can visit and do injections, every day they deal with the diabetics who cannot inject themselves and change dressings etc.
In our area they work every day and night, 24 hour call out.
The hospital should have contacted the district nursing team or you can contact through the GP surgery.

I agree with Londonbound. They need to do one of the following in my opinion:
1 train the father to do the injections
2 district nurse/ gp does injections
3. arrange hospital/clinic transport there and back and hospital does injections.

They cannot expect a family member to do that, no matter how much they will try!

I wrote to mum’s doctor saying that I would no longer be responsible for her healthcare. I was disabled and live 6 miles away from her. The surgery was 200 yards down the road from her home. If she needed to have an urgent urine test, then they should sort it out, NOT ME!

After all, if mum didn’t have family living nearby, they would have to arrange something.

That is so true, Bowlingbun, that they would have to do it if he didn’t have family.

Sadly, she has had too many years of conditioning towards being worthless other than being their ‘slave’.

She has a notebook that she has been trying to write positive things in. A few months ago she told me she had written “remember, you are useless and do not deserve to be loved”

Just about broke my heart.

I know my Brother does love her, but he’s not the kind of person to tell her that. He doesn’t actually mentally abuse her or call her names or anything, he just doesn’t treat her with the respect she deserves. Worse than that, he’s allowed their children to grow up believing it is okay to behave like that to their Mum.

It wasn’t like that at home, so I don’t know where he’s got that from.

Unfortunately, I think I may have pushed her too much over this at the moment because she has stopped answering my questions about the injections and what she is doing about getting someone else to do them.

I can only continue to be there for her right now and see if I can get her to see that she isn’t and physically can’t be, responsible for his health.

Thanks to all who have taken the time to reply. It is very kind of you to take time from your own situations to offer support and ideas. Like I told her when I sent copies of the first replies to her - you are not alone, other people have got your back, they can see the situation more clearly than you can right now, and it can’t continue.

Ultimately, there will be a “life changing moment”, it’s inevitable.