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In hospital but not eating or drinking

Discussion in 'Middle - later stages of dementia' started by ginger1973, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. ginger1973

    ginger1973 Registered User

    Jul 12, 2015
    9
    Kent
    My mum was admitted to hospital 2 weeks ago with an infection. This is the second time in 6 weeks. The difference this time being that mum hasn't been eating for pretty much the whole 2 weeks except for a couple of sips of soup and some Ensure, and drinking very little. For the first week and a half, she was on a drip and taking Ensure, but now she is medically fit she will not eat anything still and still drinking minimal amounts. Even though mum is medically fit to leave hospital, the managers from her old care home have said that she cannot come back to the care home as they feel they cannot meet mums needs, and recommend that she goes to a Nursing home. This has caused considerable stress for the whole family, as mum can leave hospital but she has nowhere to go. Social Services are involved, and I am hoping that the sooner mum gets out of hospital, the sooner she picks up the habits of eating again . Does anyone have any advice about how to get mum to eat again?
     
  2. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    9,881
    Female
    South coast
    Have you talked to the doctors about what they expect to happen to your mum?
    Being fit for discharge doesnt mean that there is nothing wrong, it usually means that they cant do any more, but she is able to be moved.
    I am going to be honest here - I am wondering whether they think that she has reached end of life.
    I may be wrong, but Im thinking that this is why they are recommending a nursing home.
    I do feel that you need to have a very open and frank discussion with the doctors.
     
  3. ginger1973

    ginger1973 Registered User

    Jul 12, 2015
    9
    Kent
    Thank you for your response. It was the Care Home that suggested mum go to a Nursing Home. All the doctors have said that she is medically fit to leave hospital, and Social Services are doing all they can to find a Nursing Home asap. But as with anything, there's a process they have to follow which is taking time.
    As time is ticking by, I have been wondering whether this could be the beginning of the end My sister was with mum today, and she is now declining to drink. I haven't said my thoughts to the family, as my dad is coping really badly with it all and there is still a part of me that is holding onto hope. But as each day passes, my mum is getting weaker and most of days doesn't get out of bed, when before she would spend hours and hours walking. I just feel so helpless
     
  4. Cat27

    Cat27 Volunteer Moderator

    Feb 27, 2015
    10,066
    Merseyside
    It’s so hard to watch our loved ones fading. I wish you strength @ginger1973
     
  5. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    9,881
    Female
    South coast
    Yes, I understand, but she is still in hospital under the doctors, Im thinking that maybe it is time for the family to have a very frank and open discussion with the doctors about her future. Have the doctors/nurses used the expression "keep her pain -free and comfortable"? If so, this means that she has been placed on palliative care.

    When people with dementia reach end of life their body starts to shut down slowly over several days. They stop eating and drinking as their body doesnt need it and can no longer precess it. Sometimes they can rally and bounce back from this stage, but if she is no longer drinking, then I have a feeling that it wont happen.

    This is a hard stage
    ((((((((((((((((((((((((((hugs)))))))))))))))
     
  6. Kikki21

    Kikki21 Registered User

    Feb 27, 2016
    1,954
    Female
    East Midlands
    I have to say the same as Canary sadly. Usually at the end stages, you will see the PWD suffer with recurrent infections which weakens their system further.
    It could be that your mum bounces back & rallies. Hospitals are not the best environment for PWD & delerium can also occur, this can affect eating & drinking.
    There was a tiny lady in at the same time my mum was in & the family were begging & pleading with her to eat & eventually she did eat a bit but I think they were moving her to hospice care anyway. It is so sad.
    I think you need to ask the questions & Social Services should definitely help in finding a suitable nursing care home for your mum. Big hugs xx
     
  7. AD123

    AD123 Registered User

    Dec 4, 2012
    36
    You could be talking about my MIL 3 years ago. She spent 6 months in hospital and was no longer eating, drinking or walking. We made the decision to put her in a nursing home. When she left hospital, she had lost so much weight none of her clothes fitted her. She had gone from a size 16 down to a size 8 (a size she had never been in her life.) However, 3 years on and the nursing home has worked wonders. She walks with the aid of walker and she is eating again and is currently a size 18.
     
  8. ginger1973

    ginger1973 Registered User

    Jul 12, 2015
    9
    Kent
    I went to see mum yesterday for the first time since Sunday (as my sister has been visiting), and I was shocked at how much thinner mum looked since Sunday. She's still not eating and she is dehydrated again, so they are given her fluids through a small tube to her stomache. They have taken out her bottom false teeth, and this probably makes her face look so much thinner. She's been chatting away all night and then sleeping during the day. I'm afraid that you might be right Canary, that this could be the end. It's so horrible seeing her laying in bed like that, when she use to be such an active lady
     
  9. ginger1973

    ginger1973 Registered User

    Jul 12, 2015
    9
    Kent
    It's been 3 weeks now, and mum is still in hospital waiting for a place at a nursing home. She is still not eating or drinking, and is now too fragile to be allowed to get out of bed on her own (not that she's tried). Mum has sipped some water and soup today, but then brings it back up again. Not sure whether she is swallowing or just spitting it out. My sister said mum started coughing today, but not in a way we would if we had a tickle, but as if she is starting to have trouble with swallowing. My sister asked the nurse about PEG feeding, and the nurse said it is possible for dementia patients, but we would need to speak to doctor about it. My sister is going to speak to doctor tomorrow about options. What does everyone think about PEG feeding? Does anyone know if it's very successful or advisable for dementia patients? We are willing to try almost anything to help mum, but if this will be too distressing for mum, then we will need to rethink.
     
  10. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    9,881
    Female
    South coast
    Personally I would not go for PEG feeding.

    Firstly, it will require surgery and your mum may not survive it.
    Secondly, what quality of life will she have afterwards? Just because you can do something doesnt mean that you should.

    Im going to be honest here - I think your mum is dying. What is happening is part of the normal process.
    They do not die because they are not eating and drinking - they stop eating and drinking because they are already dying and their body no longer requires it. If you do things like hydrating them with a drip, or using artificial feeding then are you extending life, or merely prolonging their death?

    When mum reached the stage of not eating and drinking I asked her care home not to send her back to the hospital and she passed away peacefully in her care home.

    Im sending you and your sister some ((((((((((((((((((hugs))))))))))))) @ginger1973 because Im sure you need them
     
  11. ginger1973

    ginger1973 Registered User

    Jul 12, 2015
    9
    Kent
    I am sitting in hospital with mum at 1am on Friday morning keeping watch over mum, after being told on Wednesday afternoon that her organs are shutting down and she has been placed on palliative care. Mum has been fast tracked for a Nursing Home. We had assessments from 2 homes and both have accepted mum. We have chosen the one that can take mum in the morning. The doctor said she couldn't have PEG feed as she is too advanced and after I read your advice Canary and other threads on talking point, I think it would have been too distressing for her. Thank you to everyone for your advice. It has helped me to face up to the inevitable and prepare me for the final stage
     
  12. Cat27

    Cat27 Volunteer Moderator

    Feb 27, 2015
    10,066
    Merseyside
  13. Izzy

    Izzy Volunteer Moderator

    Aug 31, 2003
    59,237
    Female
    Dundee
    Wishing you strength @ginger1973 and wishing your mum peace. This is such a hard time.
     
  14. imthedaughter

    imthedaughter Registered User

    Apr 3, 2019
    56
    Thinking of you and your mum. I hope she can be made comfortable.
     
  15. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    9,881
    Female
    South coast
    Sending you some more ((((((((((((((((((hugs))))))))))))))))) @ginger1973
     
  16. Ray96

    Ray96 Registered User

    Sep 29, 2018
    75
    Such a difficult time for you when they refuse food and liquids, medication, my thoughts are with you.

    I went through all this in Late October, mum came home from hospital to die on 6th November last year, life expectancy was under a month, the hospice called to say everything was in place for hospice at home. But somehow she started drinking and eating again, well not exactly eating, smoothies, soups, things like that, once she was settled in a cosy hospital bed in the living room in front of the telly, it was like a miracle the carers that come in were saying. Maybe the mirtazipine helped, this calms them down and increases appetite, maybe it was being back at a home, who knows, certainly getting her out of the hospital environment helped a lot.

    It's the usual roller coaster though for me, I'm her main carer, how much longer has she got I keep asking myself, she slept most of today, every day is different, but she is very well cared for and comfortable.
     
  17. ginger1973

    ginger1973 Registered User

    Jul 12, 2015
    9
    Kent
    Sadly my mum passed away yesterday afternoon. We are all devastated that she's gone. At least she is in no more pain now, and she is now at peace. She fought right to the very end, and will always be my hero. Thank you all for your advice
     
  18. Jessbow

    Jessbow Registered User

    ((Hug)) Be kind to yourself, no more suffering x
     
  19. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    9,881
    Female
    South coast
    Im sorry for your loss @ginger1973 but I am glad that she is now at peace.

    Be gentle with yourself - you did all that you could for your mum
    xx
     
  20. Dosey

    Dosey Registered User

    Nov 27, 2017
    97
    Sorry for your loss@ginger1973
    Your mum is now at peace, take care of yourself.
    Sending hugs
    Rose
     

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