Hospice for un-treatable bleeding ulcer and over medicating with Ativan? Is this the end?

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Mom put in Hospice because the doctor said she has an untretable bleeding ulcer that he cannot fix surgically. Is that an end stage diagnosis? Also while in Hospice care at the nursing home she has been at, she is being given Ativan for "anxiety" because she puts her feet over the side of the bed (she likes it that way she says). Then she is so doped up she cannot communicate or eat even while she has company visiting her (me for instance) who visited from out of state and I could not even say goodbye to her. She is not talking much, a lot of mumbling.

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Karen you have your own serious health issues to deal with so it is good that someone else is dealing with the day to day care of your mother. Contact the hospice nurse and ask her to update you every time she sees Mom.
Hospice is not a death sentence. They will ensure she gets the appropriate care to keep her comfortable and advocate for her, prevent unessesary interventions and help with diet choices and provide volunteers to read to her.
Go ahead with you gift parcels especially if that is something you always do. Even if she does not understand who they came from on some level she will associate it with you. keep sending letters and pretty card. They are something uplifting for her to look at . Try and stop crying and start writing those notes.
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Thank you Give a Hug.
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My thoughts are with your family, it's so difficult to be far away. She may not respond, but the thought really does count.
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Not sure if I stated this before, but she is in a guardianship program (some legal team get all information about her). I am next in line maybe. Her old apartment people where she was in their guardianship program, transferred her to this legal team maybe because they knew I lived out of state, but they never asked me what I wanted to do. It was at the start of my debilitation condition where I could not function and finally diagnosed as fibromyalgia and I was just not able to function/communicate about anything. So I pretty much relinquished my power over my mom to them, but never signed or stipulated whom I wanted to do it. That is all another story.
Spoke to my cousin a few minutes ago and she says my mom is definitely going down hill. She just stares into space and not responding to anyone at all. I called the nurse there and she said it happened overnight with my mom just out of it not doing well at all. It may be a week or less now that she leaves us. My daughter and I are getting together a Valentines box to send mom. We are shipping it out tomorrow. Guess I will go ahead and do that, not sure if my mom will understand or respond when she gets the Valentines bag we are sending her. When I was there over 2 weeks ago my mom asked me out of the blue, "what are you getting me for Valentines Day"? I usually just send a nice card, but this time we are sending things since she asked I wanted to send her something special this year. Her birthday (86) is March 15 and planned to send her more things, but now I cry. Thank you for my little vent.
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The fact that you have these genuine concerns regarding end of life sounds like someone whose job it is to communicate with you dropped the ball. It puts you in a situation in which you have to ask the question whether your mother is now at the end stage of her life. Your doctor should have been very clear what his prognosis is and what approach the treatment plan is following. As for her being over medicated, if you have the poa, you are not only entitled to this information, you shouldn't have to ask for it. Unfortunately, I've discovered that many nursing homes/hospices aren't forthcoming with the information even if you have the legal right to it. This is a situation where you need to be firm but assertive and be clear that you know your rights. Have your poa with you and have it read and highlighted so they know you are not going to accept vague responses or permit them to blow you off. I am concerned also with your statement that she is being over medicated. Over-medicating a patient is never acceptable, you need to find out what level of medication she is on, what level the doctor feels is acceptable, and whether those two numbers are the same. If they have her on a level that is so high she has become a zombie, find out why. It is hard when patients must be kept safe, as do other patients and staff, but if they are at the point where they are treating her only to make her comfortable, and she is at the end stage, it is a tough line to walk in determining how far is too far. Are they medicating her for her benefit or to make her easier for them to deal with, or is there a valid concern she may be hurt or hurt someone else? Because your need to have your visits and visitors who come to see her be meaningful is important in the process of handling a dying parent/loved one, every moment is precious. Without a valid reason to put her in this state by any means, they should strive to have her as lucid as they can so loved ones can say good bye. It is a shame the burden is on you here, but follow your instincts and don't back down. If the facts are as you say, this situation can be remedied. Good luck to you, we are all behind you!
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The bleeding ulcer issue will make your mother anemic. Blood carries oxygen and when anemic, people have more trouble breathing. The CHF compounds the breathing issue. She may be putting her legs over rails because she is hypoxic(not enough oxygen) which may make her confused. It is really hard to know. Since she had A-fib, it is likely she was taking anticoagulant medicine which exacerbated the bleeding. Simply stopping the blood thinners may stop the bleeding. I have seen nursing homes put people in hospice just to get extra care for patients the nursing home does not have to provide. It is not uncommon for people to be put on hospice and last for months/ years. It depends what stage of CHF she is in. My neighbors father was put on hospice 3 years ago. You need to speak to the doctor and ask what the prognosis is.
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Karen, with CHF the patients heart rate can go up and down. My MIL's O2 has dropped from 99% to 95% in six months. Her confusion has increased, her fingers are sometimes cold or numb, even cramp at times. When she hits 90% we have to decide whether or not to give oxygen. Supplemental O2 can increase the risk of stroke, and she's already had at least two of those. It's only a temporary fix. MIL also has leg swelling, a sign of fluid buildup, and that will eventually get to her lungs. So we live one day at a time, as you might. We buy time, we wonder when God will take her home.
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Well pstegman just found out something else yesterday from the Hospice nurse. My mom has congestive heart failure (CHF). Oh gosh this is news to me. The doctor whom was caring for her never mentioned that. Granted I did learn that my mom had 2 sessions of atrial fibrillation which they cardioverted and brought heart rate back to normal. But I had no idea she has CHF. So that could be the end huh? Little by little I am learning new things about my mom. Still haven't spoken to the dr. in two weeks, but the Hospice nurse keeps me informed. I wonder should I still try and talk to the doctor or just get info from the nurse?. The nursing staff at the care home tell me to call the Hospice nurse for info. My mom is in a Jerry chair now and she is getting out of her room which I guess she enjoys, but since she is not communicating with me (hard for her to speak and mumbles a lot) I don't really know her feelings. Thank you.
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You might want to talk at length with her nurses, because there appears to be more than a bleeding ulcer at work. Patients, especially older ones, usually have an assortment of other ailments at work. A good guardian will follow the advice of the treatment team and the wishes of the patient. It is a tremendous burden to bear, especially when family cannot accept the end is near. Let's say they stop the Ativan and the Morphine. The patient would be in tremendous physical pain and emotional turmoil. Ask the rabbi to talk to you about her status and together you place her in the hands of God, and ask your angels to guide you both.
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Thank you Eyerishiass. I have been in touch with the Hospice nurse several times. Mom is in a guardianship program with some lawyer people (they think because I live out of state), but I didn't know it was going to be a legal mumbojumble and they signed off on Hospice and the DNR status; I had no say though I did voice my opinion in no uncertain terms. As far as dangling her feet, yes I was concerned about her getting out of bed too Turns out no bed rails at least in that nursing home, but who knows why. Then a friend told me that nursing homes are not allowed to use rails? Never heard about that. The Hospice nurse said that if a patient has peripheral vascular disease (circulation issues) , they like to dangle their feet off of the bed. Still I am concerned about the Ativan in too high a dose that she is out of it completely and won't eat or even try to communicate. She did get a "special wheelchair" (a reclining one) so they can take her out of her room and she saw a show the other day with music and singing and yesterday they took her out of her room for Sabbath services, which she likes. The only thing is she cannot communicate enough to tell me how it was and if she liked it, etc. She barely talks anyway. So very frustrating. This is my vent and thank you for letting me share it.
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