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My 85 year old mom, who has dementia, spent 5 days in the hospital, Thanksgiving week, receiving IV antibiotics for a UTI and then mild pneumonia. She then transferred to a skilled nursing facility to receive PT and OT for 3 weeks. She worked hard and was up on her feet walking with a walker and some assistance and was discharged on Christmas Day. By Saturday night (2 days later), she was unable to stand or walk without major help. All she wants to do is sleep and isn't eating well. The adjustment to home might be bigger than I realized, although she adjusted well to being in the nursing facility. She has home health care, and the visiting nurse who came out today said her vitals were good but maybe she is a bit dehydrated. It is so frustrating not knowing what is causing this sudden weakness. I don't want to send her back to the hospital to repeat the cycle again and am looking into palliative care at home. I am wondering how that has worked for others in a similar situation. Thank you.

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Thank you, Jeanne, for your comments. I am pushing liquids today, but it is difficult to get someone to drink when they don't want to. I'm concerned about her being stuck in bed and growing weaker. I'm still waiting to hear from the home care PT and OT and the aide we are supposed to be getting for bathing. I do agree with you that all of the changes have been too much for her to process. I just can't figure out why she was doing well in the nursing home and then once home, can't do anything. It is encouraging to think she may still come back a bit with a lot of rest.

And gladimhere, I don't know much about palliative care, but it seems that they will work with any illness, whether it is short-term, chronic or end-of-life (and then you move on to hospice if you want). I don't think they stop all meds, but I am not sure. They work as a team, much like hospice, but with less restrictions. Since I really want to keep my mom home, it sounds like a possible option, but I have to gather more information before we decide.
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Mom's doc briefly mentioned palliative care for her probably two years ago. Is it often a precursor to hospice? Do they stop all meds and comfort only? I am just very confused about the difference.
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If she might be a bit dehydrated, are you having any success getting her to take more liquids? (Popsicles worked best for us.)

That many changes in environment can be very hard on persons with dementia. Maybe it is all catching up with her and she just needs more rest. I agree with you that avoiding repeating the hospital cycle would be a good thing.

We had palliative care at home for a few weeks and then went into hospice care. That seems to be a common progressive around here -- I don't know why. In our case I think my husband could have gone directly into hospice care and skipped the palliative care, but no harm was done by the progression, I guess.

It doesn't sound like your mother is a candidate for hospice. If you can get more in-home by going on palliative care and she is eligible for that, I can't think of any reason not to go with that. Be sure you understand very clearly before you start what treatments, if any, palliative would restrict.

I don't mean to hold out false hope. But it really did take my husband quite a while to recover from a hospital experience each time. But he did recover to his former baseline after several months. That might not be the case with your mother, but I think that anything you can do to keep her hydrated and keep her home will give her the best chance.
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