How long can someone survive on spoonfuls of food!

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Libby, Oct 23, 2010.

  1. Libby

    Libby Registered User

    May 20, 2006
    625
    North East
    Mum has been in hospital for two and a half weeks now, and in all that time, she can't have eaten more that about 30 spoonfuls of food - sometimes she only manages about 2 spoonfuls a day. She's hardly drinking either.

    We had a meeting on Monday and SS confirmed what we already knew - that Mum now needed EMI nursing as opposed to the EMI residential care that she had been receiving. In the assessment, they asked about her diet, and she had lost 2 kilos in 4 days, so goodness only knows how much she has lost now. Her hands are so bony, and the sinews and blood vessels are so prominent.

    I just don't know how long someone can survive on that amount of food. They're trying to get a bit of calogen down her too, but she's just not interested.

    We have found her a nursing home, and she's due to be discharged on Monday - I just don't know if it's going to help her or make her even worse.

    I feel so sad

    Liz
     
  2. DeborahBlythe

    DeborahBlythe Registered User

    Dec 1, 2006
    9,223
    Dear Liz, I'm very sorry your mother seems so poorly. I don't know the answer to your question, I'm afraid. Everyone is different. I was always concerned about my mum's intake when she was in her last CH. She seemed to survive on very little too.

    Is there anything at all which would tickle your mum's appetite, I wonder? Favourite foods, chocolate? Is she having difficulty swallowing, do you think? She might fare better on a soft diet.. creamy consistencies like yogurt, scrambled egg, mashed potatoes with savoury additions, like cheesy mash. Ice cream? Fluids alone will/may sustain her for remarkable periods, but it would be good to see if she could accept something more nutritious as well.

    I'd be tempted to stay close to your mum and try to encourage her to eat yourself, if you have time. At the end of the day, you may have to accept that your mum is floating gently downhill, but at least you will know that you have done your utmost to help her recover. Sending you all good wishes, Deborah
     
  3. piedwarbler

    piedwarbler Registered User

    Aug 3, 2010
    7,188
    Female
    South Ribble
    I'm really sorry I can't help you Liz, my mum is in much the same boat. She was 7 stone the last time they weighed her but this not eating has come on so fast! And she also does not drink much, just a couple of cups of tea each day. She doesn't sound like she is taking in as little as your mum but I just wanted you to know I can sympathise with you. Hope you fond some answers or at least a sense of support on here.
    Take care. Xx
     
  4. LynneD

    LynneD Registered User

    Aug 7, 2010
    34
    Essex
    My Mum has alzheimers and everyday is a struggle to get her to eat. She only has soup and maybe a few spoons of food every few days. She will only drink coffee (half a cup). She has lost about 4 stone in weight over 2 years. Somedays all she wants is cake.

    The doctor prescribed Enlive Plus juice drinks. These should be available in hospital, but you will have to ask for them from the nursing staff.

    I do sympathise with you and wish you luck.:)
     
  5. grove

    grove Registered User

    Aug 24, 2010
    7,724
    North Yorkshire
    Your Mums Eating

    Hi so sorry to read about your Mum it must be hard on you so sorry, just to get what you asked about diet etc am a Kitchen Asst ( wsahing Pots etc ) NOT Expert in EMI N Home. When some residents are a bit like your Mum ( not eating well etc) The GP gives them special Drinks very sweet etc (sorry not allowed to put names are we ? starts with F ! !) You can also get them as cold puddings bit like Angel Delight but thicker ! Hope that helps and when your Mum is in new Home the Nurse etc should be able to advise/help etc with the name of the drink
    Hope it works out for you and your Mum at the Home

    Take Care Love Grove x x
     
  6. danny

    danny Registered User

    Grove,you are more an expert than what you think.I have read quite alot of your posts this evening and you are wasted in the kitchen.

    Best wishes, Angela.
     
  7. Contrary Mary

    Contrary Mary Registered User

    Jun 11, 2010
    1,895
    Greater London
    Grove, I think you are quite safe in mentioning Fortisip, it is available on prescription!

    Mum has had various problems with eating and drinking over the past couple of months and I have found that Fortisip dessert is the best as regards trying to get some nourishment inside her.

    Liz, I do hope that Mum settles in her new home. Has this eating problem been around since before she was in hospital? Perhaps she may pick up a little if she can settle down. I do hope so.

    Good luck
    Mary
    x
     
  8. EmJ

    EmJ Registered User

    Sep 26, 2007
    230
    Scotland
    Hi Liz

    When my granny was in hospital she hardly ate either. My dad asked if he could support her with meals and she did eat more with support from him. (Flavoured milkshakes/custards seemed to work wonders thankfully.) My dad would also pull the curtain round to shut out the noise and people moving around as that can be unsettling too.

    She moved to a nursing home and there are still days when she doesn't eat as much but she is not as bad as she was when in hospital.

    Take care
    EmJ
     
  9. Libby

    Libby Registered User

    May 20, 2006
    625
    North East
    Thanks Deborah - we've tried that, and although on occassion we can get a litle down her, it's as if she has no interest, and she just purses her lips and refuses to eat. We all work full time - though I have reduced my hours while mum's in hospital just so that we visit her at different times. I've taken Rich Teas in and if I snap one in half, and put it in her hand, she'll quite often eat half of that. Not exactly nutritional, but at least it's something.

    Thanks Grove - the hospital have her on Calogen drinks which she'll be discharged with - but that's only a small medicine cup.

    Thanks Emj - we hadn't thought of that - I'll ring my brother later and suggest that to him when he goes in to help her with her tea.

    We've been down to her old home this morning to collect her belongings. Checked out how much she weighed and she was 52.5 kilos on 1st Oct. The hospital weighed her yesterday and she was 46.4

    I suppose that deep down, I'm preparing myself. When mum had her fall, I bought her a chrysanthamum plant - lovely bright yellow which I thought would cheer her room up when she returned to the home. But as she was kept in hospital, I took it home and it's just dying in front of me. The flowers have all drooped badly, apart from one stalk which is still standing upright with 5 flowers. It loks so odd, as if part of the plant wants to die, but a little part of it still wants to keep going.

    Pied - I know you're going through something very similar - I always read yours and Annie's posts, so thank you for your words and many thanks to everyone else. I do appreciate your help.

    Liz
     
  10. piedwarbler

    piedwarbler Registered User

    Aug 3, 2010
    7,188
    Female
    South Ribble
    Mmmm -- thinking of you, the feeling that there is just a little part left fighting on is a very familiar one to me, my mum has had 2 ginger cookies (tiny posh ones from Marks') today and a half pint of milk. Could get no other food into her at all, she just said yuck to it all. She did say she wants to die a few times, this goes back to how she was last year when it was her abiding refrain. She can eat but doesn't appear to have any appetite for food - or life itself!

    Hope you are taking care of yourself. I've just poured myself a glass of wine, my first in weeks in an attempt to relax!

    x
     
  11. PostTenebrasLux

    PostTenebrasLux Registered User

    Mar 16, 2010
    768
    London & Oxford
    Dear Liz,

    My cousin has been at death's door a few times and surprisingly, thanks to high protein drinks, such as Fortisip by Nutricia has been able to regain sufficient muscle and weight and is now capable of chewing crushed foods. The drinks are prescribed by doctors but I believe a qualified nutritionist can also help.

    We used syringes (as in the variety used for Peg feeding): 30 ml for drinks such as Ribena and 50 ml for pureed food, which we have squirted into the side of her mouth, between her cheek and teeth. We have experienced the 2 tablespoon daily intake, ended up with a concentration camp lookalike but thanks to the protein have regained a much improved beloved cousin.
    The improvement has also enabled speech improvement, eating, "energy" and memory as she is now able to hum long forgotten songs.
    I hope this helps.
    Best wishes,
    Martina
     
  12. Badge

    Badge Registered User

    Sep 25, 2010
    15
    Watford
    Hi Liz,
    It's such a worry I know, I can fully sympathise. My mum ate and drank a similar amount to your Mum for 3 or 4 weeks during a urine infection, a week in hospital being rehydrated by drip, and the subsequent couple of weeks back at her nursing home. She is now beginning to take some pureed food, and I saw her eat 2 small mouthfuls of sponge cake the other day and nearly cried! It's amazing how grateful we can be for small mercies. She still has days when she is so tired and weak that she does the clamped mouth thing you described, but usually does better the following day. I know the nursing home you're moving her to is a new environment for your Mum, but hopefully it will feel less stressful than hospital for her. My Mum was totally stressed out by hospital, and visibly relaxed as soon as she got back to the home even though she is quite far down the line and not able to verbalise how she felt- in fact, the nurses sat us both on the bed, wrapped Mum in a blanket and brought us tea- hot for me, warm and sweet for Mum- and she drank it all down! I wish you and your Mum and family all the very best,
    Alison
     
  13. grove

    grove Registered User

    Aug 24, 2010
    7,724
    North Yorkshire
    More ideas on Eating

    Hi its Grove again , Do hope there is some small improvement with your Mum , over 24 hrs been thinking what can help her see below:


    1) Porage

    2) A Creamy Fruit Smoothie made with : Full fat milk / approx tea cup full, soft fruit and 1 or 2 small fruity youghurts

    Method, Put it all togeather in suitable large jug or similar and "Whizz" down with blender, serve in plastic beaker ( might need more milk )

    This is what a resident used to have daily when she was not good at eating


    Question/ Hope you dont mind/ why is your Mum only having small amounts of her special drink ? Only curious cos Residents have lot more than you what you said ( medince cup full) Residents have a "feeder beaker full " sorry for get proper measurements ! !

    Hope all goes ok for you and your Mum at N.Home

    Best Wishes and take care Love Grove x x
     
  14. SheilaL

    SheilaL Registered User

    Oct 18, 2010
    225
    South Lakes
    I was wondering whether Fortisip is available on prescription or has it to be bought? If on scrip, I could get onto the hospital while my auntie is in there - and such time as she may (if ever) get home, contact her GP about it.
     
  15. Contrary Mary

    Contrary Mary Registered User

    Jun 11, 2010
    1,895
    Greater London
    Hello Sheila

    When Mum was in hospital she was put on Fortisip drink and Calogen because without her dentures in she was eating very little. Fortisip also do a dessert which I give Mum now that she is home.

    In hospital Mum saw the dietitian who prescribed the drinks and now that she is home the GP can prescribe.

    You can buy over the counter but one pot of dessert works out at £3.25!

    Hope this helps
    Mary
    x
     

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