This is one of those really sticky situations.
First of all, the first mistake as I see it is that she did not really have an informed consent, b/c if it was not her wish to have a feeding tube, she never should have consented to it.
For that reason, I question whether there is some dementia going on or not.
Also to answer your question is that neglect? yes, it is self-neglect. We can refuse to take pt's back onto homecare services for non-compliance, and basicaly the woman is not complying w the Rx plan.
Should she have to comply? No, and I agree it may be battery.
However, why on earth would someone be losing weight w "run-of the mill" health problems? And why would one require a feeding tube for that?
As for an APS referral? I feel that is completely appropriate. You guys have non way of knowing for certain if this woman 1) is really competent. We have all discivered the occasional pt where on the third visit they say/do something that makes the light bulb go on over yur head and say what the....you-know-what, and 2) if is is not cabaple of truly making an informed decision to refuse fluids even, then yes, the family is negligent.
B/c you can't know for sure, then I think it is apprpo for the agency to either have a MSW referral or refer to APS for an eval. I have referred pt's to APS who neglect themselves. Had one lady who was sitting in her own stool for 3 days b/c she was unable to get up and get to the BR, coulodn't transfer self and lived alobne. She refused to go 911, as she was obviously discharged before she was ready. We had tried to reach her for 2 days, on the third day I agreed to do the cold visit and found her like that. She would not allow me to call 911 to get her back to hosp, so I told her I was notifying APS, she was unsafe, etc... She did I am told allow a friend to call 911 right after I left.
Sometimes these pt's, and maybe not your lady, but the one I described , are the first ones to cry, the visiting nurse came and she didn't do one thing to help me.
I think your lady needs a psych consult to be sure she is competent to make this decision, as it seems rather drastic for routine age-related health problems.Maybe she is severely depressed, or has ca of the brain, who knows??
But yes, covering your but is never a bad thing.