We took her to emergency, but she still can't swallow and barely drinks. Can anyone help me, give advice on what to do. Should we put a feeding tube? She is 84 years old. My Mom was very independent woman. We never talked about this decision. Does the feeding tube work? How long could she live with a feeding tube? Can please someone help me out.

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I feel like you have to look at the prognosis. Is this going to nourish mom while she gets better? Or are we artificially prolonging her life with no improvement to be had.

I think that hospice should be called in to help you understand what end of life looks like and help you determine if she is there.

I am sorry you are having to make these decisions. I personally don't want to be kept alive when my life is over. Sitting in a shell, unable to communicate or participate in life is not living in my opinion.

You will make the right decision for her, truly trust yourself and don't second guess when you make a decision. Hugs!
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal

I am in the "NO" camp for Feeding Tubes
She can live for quite a while with one. there is a possibility if she has dementia as well that she will pull it out.
As she declines her body will no longer process food and with a feeding tube you will not get the cues that she no longer requires food, so continuing to give food may cause more problems.
I would also same the same for IV's, again as the body no longer processes fluids an excess of fluid can be a problem.

All this though if your Mom had been eating and she still drinks even a little can she get enough nourishment by drinking a little bit all day long? Has she reached a point where she would have decided on her own to stop eating?
While I am not in favor of feeding tubes I would not want to starve someone. So it is important to look for other cues that the body is shutting down and not utilizing food.
This is actually a time when I would contact Hospice if she is not already on Hospice. They can guide you, answer questions. A person CAN be on Hospice and have a feeding tube, it is unusual that one gets placed after a person is on Hospice though. but Hospice would be my "go to" as far as information, what they can do to help and what advice they can give.
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Reply to Grandma1954

I can't tell you whether or not it is a good idea to prolong Mom's life with a feeding tube. If you don't know what Mom's wishes are it will really depend on the the quality of life Mom had now.
Personally I have had a feeding tube for over four years and it is what keeps me alive. Don't let them put in a nasal gastric tube unless it is for a very short trial. they are very uncomfortable. Insist that she gets one put through her belly wall either into her stomach or jejunum which will require a minor operation and probably no hospital stay.

There is a certain amount of training involved in the feeding and care of the tube but I and many others can manage the whole thing by myself.
She will have to fail 3 swallowing tests before medicare will approve it.
There is a lot more to it of course and the speech therapist is the one who can educate you. Not only does it provide nutrition but much needed hydration so often lacking in the elderly.
Think about it, consider it carefully, do some research and seek professional advise but it can work long term all other things being equal.
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Reply to Veronica91
Tothill Feb 19, 2019
Veronica thank you very much for sharing your personal experience of living with a feeding tube.
TG, does mom have advanced directives in place? If so, let that be your guide, what mom wanted when she was able to make these sorts of decisions.

A feeding tube would have never worked with my mom. She had directives in place and did not want one. Mom had pulled out IV's in the hospital so we knew it would not be good for her.

Sorry, this is hard.
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Reply to gladimhere

Does she want to eat but can't, or is there no desire? If she wants to eat have you offered her a modified diet (puree) or tried thickened fluids? Once she has no desire for food and/or refuses to eat she is letting you know she is transitioning to end of life. I assume that since you can't ask her what her own preference is that she has very advanced disease... there are many studies about the use of feeding tubes in the frail elderly and I've never read anything that indicates they are a good idea, generally they do not extend life by more than a few months. I'm sorry.
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Reply to cwillie

So sorry you’re going through this. It is a question that comes up frequently here, and one I had to struggle with personally when my Mom was in the hospital. I’m answering to bump this up so more people may chime in. Without having an advance directive regarding how she would want to be cared for in the hospital, no one here can tell you directly if you should or shouldn’t. But here are a few thoughts: What do the doctors say regarding her ability to swallow? Do they think it’s temporary? Has she seen a speech therapist at the hospital to determine if the swallowing can be corrected? Is your Mom still in charge of her faculties so she’s able to talk to you about this? Does she have dementia? Is her general health good except for the Parkinson’s? Would she be accepting of the tube or does she pull out tubes/IVs? The more we know the better gentle guidance can be offered.
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Reply to rocketjcat

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