My 97-year-old mom broke her hip, had surgery, can't swallow and pulled out NG twice. Now she just has saline. What does this mean for her health?

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She has had Parkinsons for some years, and has had trouble swallowing (also gets dizzy spells) but now can't swallow at all. Can she live on just the pikk line with sailine? She is constantly agitated and wants to go to a motel or something. She can't get up by herself, of course, and I can't be there all the time with her. She cries off and on and doesn't seem to hear me, but on the other hand she remembers everyone in the family, etc. I just don't know what to think. The hospital discharged her and I was lucky the nursing home would take her. She is the transitional unit, but it's doubtful she will leave there, unless I try to take her home. She never wanted to have to be in a nursing home. Would a stomach feeding tube be helpful--athough it's another surgery. I don't know what to do.

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This is a very personal decision, but I'd talk to the doctor about hospice care. Hospice care can be given in whatever setting "home" is. Many people never want to go to a nursing home, but that is often the only choice in a situation like this. If you take her home, you will likely have to get in-home nursing help.

Saline may prolong life, but it won't sustain life for a long period. Would your mother have wanted tube feeding? Is she tearing out the tubes because it's not what she wants? If you never had this talk, it's harder for you now. I'm so sorry you are having to go through this.

If the doctor doesn't think she qualifies for hospice (I expect he or she will say that hospice care is warranted), then you should start talking with the nursing home administration about a transfer after the transitional care is done.

You may want to contact your local ombudsman for long-term care. You can go to the state website or www.ltcombudsman.org to find the right person. They are very good at helping with transitions.
Take care,
Carol
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