He's better on the new meds; should I bring him home?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 15, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My husband has multiple health problems and has been disabled since age 58. He is now 73. he has done nothing for almost 4 years except sit in his chair and watch TV and play with his 2 poodles.

He recently had a hospital stay for severe cardiac problem, and congestive heart failure. We were told he probably only has 6 months to live. he doesn't remember this, though. He came home from the hospital by ambulance and was extremely confused, acted like a baby, went naked around our granddaughters, angered very easily. A few days later he threatened to kill his hospice nurse. He was throwing temper tantrums and threatened to beat me up if I did not leave. He had his shoes and socks on and his hat and was going to leave in the pickup. He demanded the check book.

He had taken a Haldol tablet, a Haldol injection, a dose of morphine, and was on Seroquel. We had to get a court order for him to be admitted to the hospital. Sheriff and ambulance picked him up. He was calm in the hospital for almost a week, then became violent and punched two nurses, grabbed one by the arm and shook her and threw her down. Then he was again calm for a few days.

He is now in a nursing home and is cooperating but two days ago he said he is going to get out of there and is going to kill me, and if I wanted a life, then I better live it now because he was going to end it. He said this in front of our grandson around whom he has always cheered up and behaved when he was present in the past. He has been very resentful of me for almost four years, because I have been his primary caregiver and he does not like feeling a woman is in charge of him. In the nursing home he has a male nurse.

My question is, since they started him on Namenda and increased his Seroquel, and taken him off of Haldol, he seems to be getting back to his kind self that loves us all again. This makes me feel like I should take care of him at home. I have been afraid of him before because he wonders around the house at night and when he opens my bedroom door I never know if he is there to yell and curse at me or what may happen. However. he was never on these meds before. Some of my family think I should bring him home and let him die with dignity. I don't think there was any dignity in the way he was acting for the past year. He slept most of the time in 2007 and 2008 because of frequent lung infections.

If he stays calm on this med should I bring him home? We still had some good days and I miss those days. Would it be safe for him? Or should I expect another episode of violence?

Expert Answers

Dear anonymous-

You are in a very difficult and challenging situation. Given your husband's multiple medical problems it is quite difficult to tell whether the medications are causing abusive behavior or whether it is due to his disease state. If he has dementia, then even though the medications might be working now, he might continue to progressively get worse. This might require new changes to the medications and result in other types of behaviors in the meantime. It appears that it has been awhile since you posted. I would like to know his current state; that should guide me on what information to provide.

As a side note, try your best to make sure you are safe. That may mean locking your bedroom door at night (if he is having violent episodes). If you do not feel safe, then it might be best to keep him in the nursing home. Afterall, if you are not safe or well, then it will be challenging for you to take care of him.