My mother in law was no longer able to be cared for by her 99 yr old husband, was a huge fall risk and was exhibiting signs of dementia so we placed her in a nursing facility where her sister resided. Her sister passed about 8 months later whereas my MIL’s agitation seem to raise with her calling out her sister’s name constantly. Deemed ‘a disturbance to her roommate and anxiety ridden’, the nursing home began prescribing a sedative which made her zombie like. We demanded they take her off as we did not ok it (nor were we consulted prior to). They took her off and her alertness returned, no calling out. They suggested hospice come in to evaluate her as they may find some other suggestions to help, stating they were not just about dying. This being our first time dealing with this, we ok’d the consult. They made the hospice sound like they were a visiting org pre any end of life process. We felt since we lived in another state that it would be great to have someone go in regularly to visit and keep a check on her. BIG MISTAKE. Mother’s Day we visit and she is slightly medicated due to agitation and calling out again, but she was sitting in wheelchair and conversing (not completely lucidly however). 4 days later we learn she is being administered morphine, Ativan, and is officially in End of Life process.
What?? She hadn’t eaten or drank since the day after mother’s day according to them (no call to us at all), and she was being kept ‘comfortable’. We were so blind sided. The finger pointing began between hospice and the nursing home as to who should have called us earlier in the week. We got an elder advocate involved from the state. Definite problems with what transpired. She is now Day 14 without food or water, morphine scheduled with Ativan to keep her comfortable and I’m horrified, disturbed to my core and in shock with the entire experience. THIS is barbaric. If a 96 yr old can last 14 days without food/water, clearly she wasn’t in the ‘active dying’ process as they insist. It would be different if she had terminal cancer or some other terminal disease. This, I believe, is 3rd party euthanasia and I can’t believe it’s the ‘norm’ and rampant in our society. Complaints have been submitted to the state by us on both hospice and the nursing home. Little comfort as we watch our mother die a slow and disgusting death (aka murder). I wouldn’t treat my dog this way. Things have to change. As we get older....are we next?

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Oh, how awful. At least they gave her morphine, but how horrible. I am so sorry you had to go through this.

Terrible process.

You are welcome


You know your suggestion is excellent advice. I will follow it. It is much too fresh for me.

I can't stand when someone is so uninformed about this kind of thing, and by their uninformed comments, might frighten off someone who really needs hospice.

Thank you for reminder, Gershun. I am out.

Segoline, my condolences to you. I hope you are with people who can support and comfort you. Maybe, stay off this particular thread right now and go on one that can feed you spiritually and will provide you with warm feelings that you so need at this time, not confrontation.


I am addressing specifically this part of your comment

wouldn’t treat my dog this way. Things have to change. As we get older....are we next?

You would not put a farm animal nor a dog or cat, what my mom and many others' loved ones have had to endure.

What is the matter here? Really what is it. This is pretty fresh for me, less than 24 hours.

Do you understand that morphine helps them breathe easier.. My God, we saw it. My mom's respiration went from 10 to 12 at one point 8 to 16, WITH MORPHINE. The higher the number the better.

Maybe as someone else mentioned. You are trying to blame someone.

Would I do it again? In a flash.
When older people cannot articulate they are in pain, what do you want them do, suffer? Same with inability to reposition themselves. THEY CANT DO iT.

Your comment shows your ignorance, but you are in good company. Hospice is a dirty word to many.

It is actually a beautiful gift. It really is.

My mom passed away early this morning. Hospice was a godsend.

Op you are terribly mis informed about hospice, terribly so.

When they stop eating and drinking there are some things that happen. I want you to look up a Kennedy Terminal Ulcer. Do look at the images. That is not a failure of care, but of skin, as an organ. No protein. No hydration does have consequences.

End of life has many disturbingly graphic images. The body is shutting down. And to help the brain and the heart all efforts to towards that.

At the end of life, they stop eating and drinking. The body cannot process and it is harder on to try to process.

Our mom had a kennedy wound. It was pretty awful.

Before you come in and start making blanket accusations against hospice, you need to do some homework. You are very wrong and misguided.

They were a godsend for our family.

My FIL was in the hospital, on hospice. We got 'the call' and rced up there to say our goodbyes and he was sitting up in bed eating tomato soup, completely lucid and 'normal'.

We chatted for a while, then left.

6 hours later we are called again, so up we go, again. He was in a coma, stuggling to breathe and unable to recognize any of us. Dr. administered a large dose of morphine and dad passed within 15 minutes.

There is NO set timeline for death. Some people will last endless (seemingly) periods of time in hospice care, some pass within literally just hours of being put 'in hospice care'.

At 96, and not eating, not drinking, yes, it's hard to handle someone can go that long--but this is NOT euthanasia--it's a dignified and calm passing.

And why in the world would you want someone you loved to suffer, which she was doing prior to hospice? To be able to say that she lived X many years?

You don't get a medal for living to the point of absolute misery. Misery for you and your loved one.

Also, if you are not there 24.7, which I imagine you are don't know that she isn't drinking at night. Or receiving IV's. Hospice is individual to each person.

I'm sorry you feel such anger, she must have chosen this path at some time along the way.

So sorry for all your pain. May I ask, do you have POA for health care? If so you can remove her from hospice, but to what end. I do believe you said she will not eat now. This is a typical way elders signal they will die, whether you want that or not. They can of course give her tube feedings. That would require restraints. Is that what you would like? I would get some counseling and come up with exactly what you want for your mother now. She is at the end of life. For me I would want medication to keep my Mom below the level of pain and agitation, and for her to be gently ushered out. We will all die. There is no avoiding it. For myself and my loved ones I would like it to be painless as possible. Have you had counseling sessions with all involved in the hospice care to express exactly what you would wish for your Mom at this time? Again, if you have power of attorney.

There is so much room for misunderstandings during the whole dying process.

I'm sorry you are having to deal with this. But at a certain point when nothing more can be done for a person keeping them sedated is the only course of action. Otherwise there will be needless suffering for the patient.

If you weren't always there to be told and to witness what was being done and what was being administered what would you have them do. Nothing?

At a certain point you have to trust they know what they are doing even if you are not okay with it or remove your loved one from their care. Simple as that.

I wouldn't be happy, either. I hope you get some straight answers and everybody learns something useful.

How is your FIL?

Many people are in shock when their elderly parents deteriorate quickly at the end, and think that it must be someone’s fault.

I recently learned that this is actually the normal process when people lose the ability to swallow. There is missing information about whether this determination was made.

You are not there to assess her condition. You are not her nurse or doctor. Many things besides "terminal cancer or some other terminal disease" cause death. She's 96 years old. Hospice is often a person's only hope for a compassionate and good death especially when family live far away and do not often visit.

I'm sorry you are experiencing this, it's hard to know that a family member is at end of life and you were not told. It sounds like there is a lot of confusion about what is going on. For instance, it's pretty much impossible for her to be on day 14 without food and water and still be alive. The human body can live quite a while without food but can seldom make it much more than a week without liquids. Dehydration is a quick killer, usually only taking a few days or so. Maybe take some time to process the information you are given, look at her medical records, speak to her doctor and nurses and the hospice team and figure out what really happened. The nursing home makes it's money by keeping patients alive as long as possible, they get paid by the day, week or month. So do the doctors, nurses etc. They have no financial incentive to euthanize patients as they get paid nothing once a patient has died.

So why haven’t you stopped hospice? Why are you allowing this “euthanasia” to continue? You also live in another state so you haven’t seen her day to day. I can see why you are blindsided. You haven’t been there to witness her decline.

I completely agree with freqflyer. This isn’t euthanasia, her body is shutting down and cannot digest food. This situation is what happens when the family hasn’t been properly educated by the hospice staff. And when family who isn't around every day suddenly waltzes in and thinks they know better.

TarzansWife, from what you had described about your Mom-in-law, her body was shutting down. There is a valid reason that she was not being given food or water... it would have been barbaric if someone did. Mom-in-law's stomach probably was no longer processing food, thus any food/liquids given to her would just sit in her stomach which can be quite painful.

Both my parents, who were in their 90's, had Hospice care. The process was explained to me step by step, therefore there weren't any sudden surprises. My Mom went from stage 1 dementia to final stage in just a couple of months, it was accelerated due to a head trauma fall she had at home. All it took was one fall to start the beginning of the end.

Hospice Care is another set of eyes and ears. Mom's care team would visit couple times a week. I believe some family think Hospice is there around the clock every day of the week, they are not, and that is clearly defined.

What needs to be changed is having more education about Hospice and how it works. Love ones caring for a parent/spouse are in a position to be like deer-in-headlights and not listening to what is being done and why. It's not their fault, emotion does take over at a time like this.

We all want our love ones to pass on peacefully. Before Hospice was created for use in the United States in the 1970's [it started in the UK], deaths were horrible with the love one screaming in pain.

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