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AIBU?

Mum in hospital - next of kin

39 replies

TraceyGerbil · 18/09/2022 07:20

My Mum was taken into hospital two weeks ago, having had a stroke. Her friend, who called the ambulance, told the hospital that she was next of kin. She now gets all of the updates on how my Mum is doing and they won’t tell me anything, either in person or on the phone.

I visited when she first went in, and they said she would be discharged in a few days with a care package. My Mum was also adamant that I should go home (I live 3 hours flight away) which I did, as I thought I would be more use to her when she had been discharged and was back home.

I’ve told them that I am her daughter and NOK but they won’t change anything, but update Brenda, who won’t tell me what is going on. How do I change this?

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

59 votes. Final results.

POLL
You are being unreasonable
15%
You are NOT being unreasonable
85%
Welliesintherain · 18/09/2022 07:22

Can your mum explain to them your nok?

Hotandbothereds · 18/09/2022 07:22

You need to complain to the hospital, and tell them they have the wrong information and update to you as next of kin - and escalate it if they don’t.

MRex · 18/09/2022 07:23

You need your mum to ask for it to be changed. You might consider arranging a health and welfare power of attorney for your mum that you can show if she is ever unable to manage her own interests.

MRex · 18/09/2022 07:24

Hotandbothereds · 18/09/2022 07:22

You need to complain to the hospital, and tell them they have the wrong information and update to you as next of kin - and escalate it if they don’t.

She can't just "tell" unfortunately, or next of kin might be changed many times by a range of family members. Mum or the LPA is what's needed.

TraceyGerbil · 18/09/2022 07:36

I’ll speak to her today. Unfortunately she has lost her speech due to the stroke but she can write it down. So it was OK for bloody Brenda just to tell them on the phone that she was NOK but not me!

OP posts:
Aprilx · 18/09/2022 07:42

TraceyGerbil · 18/09/2022 07:36

I’ll speak to her today. Unfortunately she has lost her speech due to the stroke but she can write it down. So it was OK for bloody Brenda just to tell them on the phone that she was NOK but not me!

My sister was in hospital last year, I am her closest living relative but somebody else that knew about her going into hospital before me put themselves down as next of kin. When I turned up at the hospital, I told them I was her sister and closest living relative and they changed it.

Next of kin has no legal meaning, if you are firm enough with them then this should be changed. If you are not making progress, then you need to escalate this.

Aprilx · 18/09/2022 07:43

*My sister was non communicative by the way.

buddy79 · 18/09/2022 07:46

Next of kin has no meaning in law - they probably just took her name down as “contact”. It is entirely up to your Mum who she does and doesn’t want kept informed so any instruction about sharing information would have to come from her, assuming she has capacity.

Fraaahnces · 18/09/2022 07:49

I think a legal letter is required. Brenda may also appoint herself POA and get access to your mum’s finances, etc.

RedHelenB · 18/09/2022 07:50

TraceyGerbil · 18/09/2022 07:36

I’ll speak to her today. Unfortunately she has lost her speech due to the stroke but she can write it down. So it was OK for bloody Brenda just to tell them on the phone that she was NOK but not me!

Brenda called the ambulance and presumably has taken on more day to day responsibility than you gave, given you live 8 hours away. I'd try to talk to Brenda again.

itsjustnotok · 18/09/2022 07:50

It should be your mum who confirms it not anyone else. I work in A&E and took a call from someone who told me they were NOK. I don’t accept that easily over the phone because I don’t know who on earth this person is, so I took the details and it turned out it was a neighbour. I then spoke to the patient and asked if this was the correct information and if she was happy and she was delighted because they were the only family she felt she had. Turned out her daughter was abusive and she had had to involve the police. So if your mum can state (even by writing it down due to her stroke or nodding her head etc) she wants you as her NOK, that would be best. I’m always wary because I don’t know the dynamics of a relationship and the phone makes it 1000 times more difficult to prove who has what ‘rights’.

Naturella · 18/09/2022 07:52

Oh OP this sounds like such a difficult situation. NOK is not a legal term and has no rights attached it is just the point of contact from the hospital. If your mum is able to make decisions for herself then the hospital should check with her about who she would like information to be shared with. An LPA would only become relevant if your mum was not able to make decisions for herself and takes time to register with the office of the public guardian but may be a discussion to have in the future. I really hope this is useful and all the best for a speedy recovery for your mum

Aprilx · 18/09/2022 07:54

Fraaahnces · 18/09/2022 07:49

I think a legal letter is required. Brenda may also appoint herself POA and get access to your mum’s finances, etc.

A legal letter is not required because next of kin has no legal meaning. All OP needs to do is ask, ask more firmly if refused and escalate if that fails as well. I was able to change records to have me down as NOK in a hospital records extremely easily, by asking and proving who I was.

Brenda cannot appoint herself as POA, it doesn’t work like that. OP might not be able to get POA now either, her mother does need to have her faculties intact to do that, because it is a legal thing, unlike hospital NOK.

buddy79 · 18/09/2022 07:55

Again - the hospital can only take instruction from your Mum. Not from you and not from Brenda. Unless she both lacks capacity AND already had a POA. Presumably when she had her stroke the ambulance crew sensibly took down Brenda’s number and it is in your Mum’s records. All it needs is for your Mum to express to hospital staff that she would like you to be kept informed. You could call the ward and explain, ask them to double check with your Mum. Nobody can “appoint themselves POA” - POA status is granted by the donor, ie your Mum, with appropriate witnesses etc. The hospital I’m sure are just following what is in the notes and trying not to breach confidentiality. I’m sure once they have your Mum’s permission to speak with you it will be fine. Hope you are ok

Naturella · 18/09/2022 07:55

Naturella · 18/09/2022 07:52

Oh OP this sounds like such a difficult situation. NOK is not a legal term and has no rights attached it is just the point of contact from the hospital. If your mum is able to make decisions for herself then the hospital should check with her about who she would like information to be shared with. An LPA would only become relevant if your mum was not able to make decisions for herself and takes time to register with the office of the public guardian but may be a discussion to have in the future. I really hope this is useful and all the best for a speedy recovery for your mum

Should also add that LPA has to be donated whilst the person is able to make decisions but the powers and responsibilities attached are only activated when the person stops being able to make decisions for themselves

Hoppinggreen · 18/09/2022 07:55

Fraaahnces · 18/09/2022 07:49

I think a legal letter is required. Brenda may also appoint herself POA and get access to your mum’s finances, etc.

You can’t appoint yourself the person you are getting a POA for has to do it and it has to be verified etc. Someone neutral also has to confirm the person getting the POA has capacity etc.
Its not just a case of “appointing” yourself

GeorgiaGirl52 · 18/09/2022 07:59

If you have a copy of your birth certificate it might help to bring it to the hospital with you. An official paper confirming your relationship could influence them and they can make a copy for your mother's records.

Aprilx · 18/09/2022 08:00

buddy79 · 18/09/2022 07:55

Again - the hospital can only take instruction from your Mum. Not from you and not from Brenda. Unless she both lacks capacity AND already had a POA. Presumably when she had her stroke the ambulance crew sensibly took down Brenda’s number and it is in your Mum’s records. All it needs is for your Mum to express to hospital staff that she would like you to be kept informed. You could call the ward and explain, ask them to double check with your Mum. Nobody can “appoint themselves POA” - POA status is granted by the donor, ie your Mum, with appropriate witnesses etc. The hospital I’m sure are just following what is in the notes and trying not to breach confidentiality. I’m sure once they have your Mum’s permission to speak with you it will be fine. Hope you are ok

And again you are wrong. How many times! NOK has no legal meaning. It is simply the point of contact and a hospital can very easily change this if there is good reason. I have personal experience of changing the NoK point of contact to myself when the patient was beyond communication.

buddy79 · 18/09/2022 08:09

@Aprilx yes I agree - we are saying the same thing- I was disagreeing with the “Brenda could appoint herself POA” comment which is incorrect. I said NOK has no legal meaning previously. The thread just overtook me!

MingeofDeath · 18/09/2022 08:11

As people have already said NOK has no legal standing. It is up to the patient to decide who to name as NOK abd that can be anyone- neighbours, local vicar, bloke who runs the corner shop. Just because you are a relative you are not automatically assumed to be nok. This must be upsetting for you but as you live some distance away, the neighbour was probably put down for expedience.It is up to your mum (if she has capacity) to change that. As for the neighbour not telling you anything then that is bang out of order.
Re send a legal letter. They have no standing in law, they are as valid as if you or I wrote them. I do wish people would stop bandying about "send a solicitors letter" as if they mean anything, they don't and are just an expensive waste of money.

Aprilx · 18/09/2022 08:15

buddy79 · 18/09/2022 08:09

@Aprilx yes I agree - we are saying the same thing- I was disagreeing with the “Brenda could appoint herself POA” comment which is incorrect. I said NOK has no legal meaning previously. The thread just overtook me!

@buddy79
My apologies. Yes “Brenda could appoint herself as POA” is most definitely very wrong!

TraceyGerbil · 18/09/2022 08:52

@RedHelenB Brenda has taken on no day to day dealings with my Mum. She only visited when I took her. One of the big problems is that there are no family nearby at all, and due to her age, apart from Brenda, all of her local friends are dead. I’m going to speak to the hospital this morning. She was quite agitated yesterday, saying that she wanted to go home. Prior to this she has enjoyed the company on the ward and being looked after.

OP posts:
KetoSlawrus · 18/09/2022 09:04

There are reasons why hospitals do not like people who abroad being the next of kin - it's a legal thing (and I know this because I've had to be NOK / NR for a friend in their final weeks as their parents were stuck abroad due to COVID)... It's to do with international communications.

I would be grateful Brenda has put herself down for now - how are you getting updates from the hospital at the moment?

You need legal advice over POA etc going forwards but it will take time unless you go through court appointment process which would not become you anyway.

SpringIntoChaos · 18/09/2022 09:15

Who is your mum's 'nearest relative' OP? This is literally the only thing that matters in law where there is no POA. There is a hierarchy that the hospital will follow. Contact the hospital and go through this hierarchy with them.

SpringIntoChaos · 18/09/2022 09:19

By 'nearest relative' it doesn't mean location...it is an actual term. Talk to the hospital social care team dealing with your mum and ask them to go through this with you. The hierarchy will start with a spouse (so husband) then moves on to oldest child, parent, etc.

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