One important lesson I learned while caring for my dear Mother. This is for all caregivers.
As some of you know, my Mother passed on 12/27/12. But this is not about that, I want to make sure that all "caregivers" on this forum know this as many nurses or Hospice care companies neglect to let caregivers know that oral hygiene is very important.
My Mother wore dentures when she was well; but once she got ill, she hated them and did no longer use them. I pureed her food to make it that much easier to swallow and made sure she drank enough liquids. For some odd reason she got into drinking a lot of juice. And part of her treatment was to inhale solutions like Spiriva, Simbycort and Pro Air. Only after 3 weeks she started getting sores in her mouth, on the sides and under her tongue (Thrush). Because of this, she could no longer eat or even swallow water. It was very hard on her. The hospice doctor came over and gave her antibiotic and some "swish and spit" medicine.
Thrush is a yeast infection, antibiotic creates yeast. Now, don't you think the doctor should have known this. The worse part is that this might have been prevented with a simple suggestion from the nurses/doctor at the very beginning of her sickness. Oral hygiene. Even if she doesn't have dentures or eats very little or drinks and citric juice (like Orange juice); make sure she washes and gurgles after each time she eats and drinks.
This is very important! I don't know if my Mother would not have gone as fast as she did because of this, but I do know that her last week was horrible for her and for her family to see because it is so painful and there's nothing one can do once it starts. So please, make sure you help your loved one by making sure she/he washes and gurgles after any medicine, drink or food intake.