when to stop feeding

Discussion in 'End of life care' started by lallstom, Oct 24, 2014.

  1. lallstom

    lallstom Registered User

    Jul 31, 2013
    46
    My mother has deteriorated even more. I had reduced my visits because I was finding it so upsetting - she does not know me etc
    Now she is in bed and surviving on liquids only. But these include ensure and complain. Could I ask the CH to stop these as I feel they are prolonging her life ? Or is it me struggling to cope ? I am the only relative, my mother was not the the best and because of this my husband refuses to have any involvement in her care. He has not seen her since she went into the care home 18 months ago.
    I feel a bit on my own.
     
  2. janemit

    janemit Registered User

    Sep 7, 2014
    30
    I have the same problem mum eats very rarely now. She is skin and bone they feed her high energy drinks. I go every week but come home so upset. My sister visits less as she lives further away.
    Does your mum have a community DNR.
    I think unfortunately as long as your mum will take them they will give them even though I am sure your mum wouldn't want to be like that.
    I can hear my mum's stomach rumbling but she doesn't understand that she should eat. When tries to eat her hand.
    I feel for you and it is hard when you don't have anyone to talk to. My husband also doesn't visit not because he doesn't care but because it upsets him too much. Am sure it's a man's way of trying to cope.
     
  3. Pickles53

    Pickles53 Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    2,474
    Radcliffe on Trent
    Lallstom you are very brave to face up to this question, the hardest of all. My mum is in a very similar situation and I know that if she had the choice she would not want to be like this any longer. DNR is in place and also have agreed no hospitalisation with GP and care home. But to ask them to stop offering her food and drink feels like a step too far right now even thoughI find myself wondering 'how much longer does she have to endure this?'

    My MIL stopped eating almost completely (though still drinking a bit) about two months before she died, eventually she became so weak that her system just began to fail. I don't think we're quite at that stage yet, but I suspect it's not far away. Watching her decline and fade away is so dreadfully sad, but all that I can do now.
     
  4. CJW

    CJW Registered User

    Sep 22, 2013
    212
    This is a very difficult issue. When someone refuses food and drink their is a choice to force feed or let nature take its course, but stopping feeding when the person still accepts food is a morally complicated issue. Have you talked to the GP? Be strong...I am so sorry you are having to cope alone.
     
  5. lallstom

    lallstom Registered User

    Jul 31, 2013
    46
    Yes DNR in place.
    No hospitalisation also agreed with CH and GP.
    The CH is brilliant, she IS cared for I know that.
    It is so hard to watch.
     
  6. Fastwalker

    Fastwalker Registered User

    Apr 27, 2010
    178
    Tyne and Wear
    I have agreed no hospitalisation with the GP and home. The home keep on asking me to confirm it probably covering their backs. The GP agrees with me. There are a lot of calories in fortisip and ensure. I think my mum has forgotten how to eat. I feel on my own too lallstom. I am the only person who goes now apart from an old friend of my mums who goes once in a while. I don't want to stop trying to offer my mum food and drink until she absolutely cant eat or drink anything. You are not the only person in this situation.
     
  7. lallstom

    lallstom Registered User

    Jul 31, 2013
    46
    Thankyou for posting. It is a very lonely time.
    Do you cry when you are there ? I don't want to cry in front of her even though she seems oblivious to her surroundings.
     
  8. starryuk

    starryuk Registered User

    Nov 8, 2012
    1,301
    Lallstorm, I feel for you. It is a lonely, heart breaking time indeed. I think I coped with my mum in her last 2 months (mostly in hospital) by not thinking, just focusing on practical aspects. The moment anyone was kind to me the floodgates opened.

    I felt enclosed in a heavy bubble. The weight kind of surrounded me. The rest of the world felt completely irrelevant. It is awful, but we have to do it for our mums don't we? I am glad I was there for mine and I am sure your mum is aware of you even if she doesn't respond.
     
  9. Chrismitch

    Chrismitch Registered User

    Jun 23, 2011
    127
    Could she be given water only? That way she would not feel any discomfort but would be allowed to fade gracefully.
     
  10. lallstom

    lallstom Registered User

    Jul 31, 2013
    46
    anyone stopped visiting ?

    Has anyone stopped visiting because it was too upsetting. I have not been for 3 days now and would normally go tomorrow but I can't face it.
    I start crying just thinking about going.
     
  11. Fastwalker

    Fastwalker Registered User

    Apr 27, 2010
    178
    Tyne and Wear
    I cant not go. I am all my mum has got and her friends who have been a lot have now stopped going. My only other family is my dads sister who is too unwell to come as she doesn't live near. I wouldn't expect her to come to see someone who doesn't know her. My GP gave me something to help me sleep - a very low dose of an antidepressant and it does help. Perhaps this would help you too. I do know exactly what you are going through. It has been horrible watching my lovely mum deteriorate over the last four years. I do tell her that she is lovely and how much I love her and she seems to know. I was made redundant in May and only recently managed to get some temporary work. This has helped take my mind of my mum and it is extremely near my mum and my home so is very convenient. When I go, I remind her of happier times and mention my dad frequently.
     
  12. Neph

    Neph Registered User

    Jan 27, 2014
    179
    I don't get why they give them supplements, mum is eating, just.I've been wondering about taking to the doctor to see if it's worth carrying on as its just dragging it out. I would not go but I too am the only one. It's horrible isn't it.
     
  13. Pigeon11

    Pigeon11 Registered User

    Jul 19, 2012
    351
    #13 Pigeon11, Oct 26, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2014
    I feel so, so sorry for you. My Dad had problems eating for the last 2 years of his illness. They used to give him supplements at first but I asked them to stop, and they did. But this was at a time when he could still manage pureed food to a certain extent.

    Some people stop eating altogether as the illness advances but he didn't. He carried on eating small amounts with difficulty for all this time. In the end, he just couldn't swallow at all so together with the GP/nursing staff we agreed to stop all food/liquids and he gradually faded over a three day period.

    I have to admit too, that there were many times earlier on when I wished that they had stopped feeding him as though he was not in any pain or major discomfort, his life seemed pointless and undignified. But in the end, the sole responsibility for that decision was taken away from me and I'm glad it was.

    I know the feeling about not wanting to visit and I think you should just be kind to yourself and do whatever you can cope with. No one will think any less of you and you should be proud that you have loved and cared so much. As for crying, well I'm sure it's not something you can entirely control so please don't punish yourself about that.

    To give you some reassurance (I hope), my dad's death was as peaceful and pain-free as anyone could have wished for. I stayed with him for many hours in the last few days while he slowly faded away but he went during the night while I was at home. I had been the only one who visited for many years before that but in the end days the family did turn up. But I really do know what a lonely and distressing time it is.

    I hope you can find the strength to cope. There are lots of people on here who will know exactly how you feel and are here to send you love and hugs.

    Take care xx
     
  14. lallstom

    lallstom Registered User

    Jul 31, 2013
    46
    Your kind thoughts have made me cry!!!!!
     
  15. Neph

    Neph Registered User

    Jan 27, 2014
    179
    Aww lallstom please don't cry, we are all in this horrible place and all we can do is offer each other support and kindness. I'm sending you a hug and a pile of tissues. xx
     
  16. lallstom

    lallstom Registered User

    Jul 31, 2013
    46
    Thanks for all your kind words.
    After visiting 3 times a week for 18 months I have had a long chat with the very good CH manager. We agreed that my visits are of little benefit for my mother and detrimental for myself, so I will probably not go again.
    She will keep in touch.
    Initially I was able to take her out in a wheelchair and have a reasonable conversation, how quickly things change.
    Of course I feel terribly guilty, but maybe able to go about my daily life now without having her constantly in my thoughts.
     
  17. loza

    loza Registered User

    Jul 4, 2013
    22
    feeding

    We also are in this position, mum cannot do anythingand is in bed etc, she does not want to eat, you put it in and then have to put fluids into her to push the food down which makes her cough, the CH says she HAS to have thickener in her fluids but if its thick she will not swallow, we then have to try and syringe it out in cas she chokes CH staff love her and want to keep feeding her and we love her and would love them to stop feeding her as we know she would not want to be in this position. They want to give her fresbin as it has all the vitamins in, WHY???
    Frustrated or what.
    We maintain a vigil even tho she is not aware of her surroundings or people.
     
  18. Neph

    Neph Registered User

    Jan 27, 2014
    179
    Ioza talk to her doctor, I did on Monday and they have stopped the suppliments. It's only a matter of time now I suppose, she is under 5 stone and not very responsive. The care home have a duty of care but sometimes a little chat with the GP and they can help.
     
  19. loza

    loza Registered User

    Jul 4, 2013
    22
    feeding

    Thank you Neph, Yes I will ask her Dr, CH seem to want to preserve all life even tho they have no quality at all and in pain being moved because she is just siezing up. many thanks:(
     
  20. harry52

    harry52 Registered User

    Nov 3, 2014
    1
    h52

    Iam very sad for you its a lonley road but be strong , iam on the same rd my father has lost his swallow and has not eaten for 3 weeks he has went down hill and I cant see him getting back he was an raf man and very intellectual now just a shell iam the only one left and I live 65 miles from hospital and it breaks my heart to see him like this I understand its very hard but god is with you and your mother I hope you find the strength , god bless
     

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