What can I do if my family decides not to notify me of my loved one's hospitalization?

2 answers | Last updated: Jan 20, 2014
A fellow caregiver asked...

What can I do if my family decides not to notify me of my loved one's hospitalization?

Expert Answers

Martha Clark Scala has been a psychotherapist in private practice since 1992, with offices in Palo Alto and San Francisco, California. She regularly writes about grief and loss, the necessity of self-care, and substance abuse. Her e-newsletter, "Out on a Limb," is available to subscribers through her website.

It depends. What has happened among you and your family members so that they don't want you to know about your loved one's hospitalization?

If you don't know, ask.

If you do know, make amends.

If all attempts to make amends have failed, consider seeking family mediation. Most locales offer free or low-cost mediation services through a Community Board or similar group.

Community Answers

Lyssaszoo answered...

This has happened to me as well. In my case, I asked my siblings (who were non communicative) and - no surprise - got nowhere. I have no idea why. I've even had other family members reach out to my siblings and ask - the only response they got was that my siblings don't trust me and they think I'm after LO's money, but they won't give a reason and I've given no indication in my entire life that I'm after money (in fact, of the whole family, I'm the least money-obsessed). And they refuse to attend mediation, despite my repeated requests.

If those involved have your loved one's PoA, you're pretty much out of luck, in my experience.

However, once I did find a sympathetic nurse (after I learned what hospital LO was in), who didn't automatically turn me away when I didn't have the code for LO's room. Instead, they asked LO if they knew who I was and if they wanted to speak with me - and because they had asked to speak with me, the nurse wasn't going against any regulations. (Of course, my siblings found out after the fact and subsequently tried to completely block all communication, but at least at the time I was able to let LO know they weren't entirely alone and someone was thinking of them...)