How to really know if a person is dying or it's something else?

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Hospice nurse told me my mother has 2 weeks to live. I am having trouble believing it. She was improving but got a bad bed sore. Gave my mother tylenol for pain she slept most of yesterday I turned her on side and gave her some vitamin c drink and extra protein and bed sore improved in 2 days. Nurse told me not to make her eat or drink . Food is something she doesn't need. I put her plate of food in front of her and go back to get her drink and half her plate is gone, she eats almost everything on her plate. It might be beta blocker and medicine famotidine making her tired also being in bed continuously. Not sure if hospice is right or bringing hospice to home was a mistake?

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Top Answer
Dat, so sorry to read about your Mother.

Please note when the body starts to shut down, we must pay attention to what Hospice is telling us about feeding or giving liquids to our love one. Otherwise, what will happen is that food will sit in the stomach as the stomach is no longer digesting the food and that will eventually become painful, and liquids will sit in the kidneys, again can be painful.

Hospice nurses/aides are quite familiar with the final journey signs, signs that we don't notice as we haven't worked in the field at all. I remember when Hospice told me my Mom had 48 hours left, and they were right on the mark. I was thankful Hospice was there, as Mom had a very peaceful pain free passing. Same with my Dad.

Oh, please note it is not uncommon for a love one to do what is called a "rally".... where they look like they are improving big time, become chatty, want to eat, etc. These "rallies" sadly are short live.... maybe a couple of days or a week, then back to their final chapter.
If you have ANY reservations about what hospice is doing then discharge them. Since your mom seems to be pain free, has an appetite and is healing well I would question why she was enrolled in the first place? Hospice Care Is End Of Life Care, hospice staff are used to shepherding terminally ill patients to their deaths in their final months and weeks. If you are one of the people whose loved one is not dying but are using hospice as a means to obtain extra health services you are not understanding what you have signed up for and are playing with fire. Hospice can always be reinstated later if needed.
In all honesty, how much time a person has left can not be predicted down to 48 hours. It never hurts to wait and see. Especially since your mom isn’t in pain or suffering unduly, discharge hospice because they might not be needed right now.
If Mom is eating on her own I see no problem. Its when its being forced. Just because she is on hospice doesn't mean u can't consult with her doctor. The thing I question is why she is on a Beta Blocker. They r usually taken off of meds unless its for comfort. And u don't have to be dying to be on hospice. My daughter has seen hospice patients living over 2 yrs.
Joanne I agree that sooner is often better when it comes to hospice and that not everyone enrolled is actively dying, however we've probably all read those other threads from people who were not happy with their decision to use a Hospice provider. I think all of us should be educating ourselves about our loved ones illnesses and prognosis, about the signs of end stage disease and that end of life is approaching, and about the principals of hospice and palliative care. IMO anyone who is feeling rushed, pushed or overwhelmed would do well to take some time to explore all their options (if possible) so there are less regrets later.
What does your mother's physician say? Do you have a solid diagnosis?
I agree with cwillie. Dat1917, it doesn't sound like you are convinced that your mother is dying. I think that is the first thing the closest loved ones MUST accept for hospice to be a meaningful and peaceful experience. I am very thankful for hospice services for my mother and for my husband. I hope to have hospice care for myself when my time comes. I think it is a wonderful program, for people who have accepted that death is most likely near. (Sometimes it is not immediate, but you have to understand that it could be.)

Rovana raises the valid point that Mom's physician should explain the diagnosis and prognosis to you.
Don't let hospice be the only one giving you a diagnosis, especially at the point you are at.
Dat, speak to your mother’s doctors & ask them to explain to you why your mother is in hospice. What is her diagnosis? Do you know? I ask this because health care providers assume you may know the diagnosis but can’t tell you b/o HIPPA. It just appears to me that you may be out of the loop somehow or even in denial that your mom is very ill. Denial is a defense mechanism we humans use to cope with bad news but unfortunately you can’t deny a loved one is dying. 
Also, you can be inadvertently passing on your stress to your mother which can be very detrimental to her stress level as well, if she is responsive.
Yes, please ask to meet with your mother’s doctors if you have any doubts. Find out who wrote the order for hospice. Are there any other family involved-siblings, spouses, etc? Clergy?  Maybe they can help you to accept you mom’s prognosis.
As stated above if you have doubts then discharge hospice. You can always get them back when needed.
If you confirm she is dying, then spend the time left together in peace giving her lots of love & keeping her calm.
Good luck to you!

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