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My mother who is 82 years of age, had a fall and has been in hospital now for nearly a month. Mum also got a infection after around 2 weeks doctors told us that mum had not responded to treatment and her future was unpredictable and was termed as being end of life situation. Also my mother's life style has involved alchohol intake take for many years. she also has some dementia. .
Mum was taken off hydration drip. and for the last two weeks mum has been drinking by mouth on her own, drinking lucozade, , water, small amount of honey, sometimes has some breakfast. esure drink

When I visited mum today she was quite alert which surprised me, when I asked her if she had any breakfast she replied yes, but she did not like the food in hospital, also they served meals too late that is why she can't eat.

Is this her dementia or is this the situation, The doctor on the ward always seems to busy to ask any questions.

Also mum is aware that it is Christmas time coming up and she was concerned as she had not bought any presents. Also said that she wanted to go back to her home, had enough of being in hospital being told what to do all the time.

Is this all part of process, I came away from the hospital unsure what to do. Does mum still have the capabilities of making her own decisions.

Are there any blood tests that would show where my mum is at regarding the shutting down of her body?

I am in a complete muddle feeling helpless.

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maslow53 - first I want to tell you to hang in there. Second. Ask. Demand. Question. My father had a fall and fractured his hip last August. Was in ICU because is on a blood thinner so requires breathing tube for surgery which needs monitoring in ICU. He hates hospitals, was in pain and on pain meds, and was not sleeping so he was not himself. After a week we had meeting with doctors and "medical directors blah blah blah" of hospital who told us Dad was just not getting better and suggested care options including preparation for end of life...
Needless to say this was a shock/trauma to us and we were all in tears. We were not expecting this. My understanding is that a hospital cannot discharge a patient from ICU without family's consent. We fought because we knew he was not ready. We got him moved to palliative care floor and he slowly got better. BTW, it was only AFTER he was moved to palliative care that they discovered Dad broke some ribs in his fall which certainly contributed to his pain. HELLO!!!!! Was discharged to rehabilitation center a few days later. As I write this my father is reading contentedly in his recliner down in his study. This is 4 months after the doctors suggested a "hospice" alternative. No. Just no.
Doctors are knowledgeable people but they do not know everything. you know your parent better than they do.
also a word about the appetite thing - my father has gotten particular about his food. he didn't like the food served in the rehab center. we noticed a severe decrease in appetite about a year ago. dad was recently diagnosed with colon cancer which we think had something to do with it (he has always been a big eater.)
try bringing in her favorite foods in small portions. read the other posts about the clever ways people get their parents to drink protein-laden milkshakes etc. don't be afraid to be creative. we brought my father home for Thanksgiving and he is from the south and requested barbeque, so that's what he got - and all we had to do is reheat :) hope this helps, please keep us updated !

ps - after surgery dad was disoriented and in pain - I saw sides of him that I've never seen before. he was calmed by a small dose of antipsychotic med. please don't assume that if your mom is acting strange it's because she is old, it may have to do with the environment, especially if she is aware that it is Xmas time. Good luck!!!
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Maslow, where are you based? Are you in the US? It's not crucial, I just wondered if you might perhaps be in the UK.

Wherever you are, you need not be shy of asking questions. Doctors on the ward are going to be busy, because they're usually juniors who are there to do specific tasks and often far too many at once; so while you could try stalking and tackling one, it isn't likely that a rushed conversation would be very satisfactory for you anyway. What you want to do is find out the name of the specialist or consultant who has senior responsibility for your mother. You then call his/her secretary and request either a meeting the next time you are visiting your mother, or a telephone call back, to discuss her care plan. Be very polite - of course! - but be confident: it's a reasonable request and you should expect a civil response. Or, you could go to a senior nurse, explain your need to understand your mother's care plan, and see what's advised.

It is very important to figure out in your own head what you want to know. Her care plan is the thing to focus on. What is her current condition? How is she expected to progress? What are the key issues as far as her ongoing care is concerned?

There are a few things that would make her a bit complicated. When you mention the alcohol, would you say that she has been a heavy drinker for a long time? Being suddenly and completely sober for a month, if she has, would be good news for her health but would also have some strange and interesting effects on her physiology, including brain function - perhaps it could be that she has thoroughly been shaken up and is only now beginning to settle down. When was her dementia diagnosed? What type? And what sort of infection was it that she (grrrrrr) acquired in hospital? Infections do senior brains no favours. Again, if she has managed to shake off the infection, it could be that she might improve further.

I don't want to sound over optimistic, but I wouldn't quite write her off just yet. Be reassured that you won't have to do anything in a hurry, without knowing enough to make a good decision. Even if the hospital wants to discharge her, they won't kick her out without discussion.

Another resource you could think about is your mother's GP, especially if she's been with the same one for a while and even better this person knows you. If you're having trouble getting information from the hospital, her GP shouldn't and might be happy to talk you through it - it's worth a try if you're not getting far by yourself.

Tx's warning is apt, by the way. But, as they say, hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Communication is key! Best of luck, please update.
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They say if the patient is alert and complaining, they are recovering. Get to know her nurses and ask them how she is progressing. She should probably go to rehab for PT before she goes home, IF she goes home. Take one day at a time.
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Was she living in her own home before the fall? Is there a need to find her some where to live if she is to be released from the hospital? Would it be appropriate to have her in a nursing home, on hospice care?

My mother's hip fracture was severe, untreatable, and the hospital thought she might not live out the week. They sent her back to her nursing home, on hospice. Three months later she had improved so much she was released for hospice. She is content where she is. This just goes to Eyerishlass's point that no one can tell you for sure whether you mom is actively dying. If you have an option for hospice care, I say take it. The extra attention and care gives her the best chance at comfort, and if she is to make some recovery it will happen with or without that extra care.
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Not saying this is typical or relates to your situation, BUT - My dad was in a coma for 4 months before he passed away. Don't remember the timeline (it was over 25 years ago) but shortly before he died, he became alert and talked to us and acted like he was going to be ok. We were all excited to have Daddy back and began making plans to bring him home from the hospital. Then he died. The doctors said sometimes that happens but, of course, we were all devastated. The pastor said he probably just wanted to see us again before he passed. Sending Prayers for you in this difficult time.
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Her age would qualify her for being at the end of her life. As to whether she is dying, I don't think anyone can say. This may just be the beginning of a slow decline. Again, no one can know.

There is no definitive blood test that would show if your mom is drying. There are certain gasses that fluctuate in someone who is dying but they can't always be detected in a blood gas test.

Where does your mom live? Does she live alone? Is she faced with having to make some decisions right now? If so, I'd just sit back and see how she deals with them, see if she is able to make the decisions on her own. If she's not you'll have to step in.

If you haven't already, now would be a good time to obtain POA.
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