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My Mom, (87 years old), is in the end stage of vascular dementia. She is in a nursing home who have been looking after her really well for about 2 years now. She has diabetes and has been having a lot of UTIs for a while, which mess with her blood sugars.


Last week she finished her third lot of antibiotics for the latest (resistant) infection and she is now refusing to eat or drink.


She has gone 6 days without eating and is barely having sips of fluids despite the staff trying their hardest to encourage her. The nurses are concerned about her going into a diabetic coma which will mean she will have to go to hospital which no one wants. They believe she wants to die and I agree with them...


My question is how long can she drag on like this?


Has anyone else here been through this?


If so can you let me know what happened or what to expect next please?


Thank you


Viv

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I'm surprised that her doctor hasn't suggested Hospice. I'd immediately ask for a consult. They are very helpful with the things you seem to need.

They gave me a booklet called Gone From My Sight. It's a short explanation of things to look for as your LO nears the end. I'd ask for that and for their support.

Is she sleeping a lot?
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Reply to Sunnygirl1
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My Husband went 4 days without eating or drinking.
Please do not have them hospitalize your Mom.
Please do not do a feeding tube.
And I would also discourage IV fluids. Her body probably can not process fluids at this time and it would cause more problems.
Just hold your Mom's hand, tell her you love her and that you will be alright and give her permission to go.....
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XenaJada Nov 4, 2018
^^THIS!^^
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They still need your permission as POA to send her to the hospital. I hope by now with all the encouragement here, you have requested hospice so she may go peacefully. You know in your heart she is ready.
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VivWalker Nov 6, 2018
Thank you but we don’t have that option in the UK when someone is in a nursing home as the nurses are all qualified to see her through to the end. They are looking after my mom so well and it’s obvious that they all love her to bits so I wouldn’t wait move her now.

She has had the odd spoon of food and is accepting water here and there - not enough to make much of a difference but she’s still hanging on.
It’s so horrible to watch. I’m in bits when I’m not with her but can hold it together in front of her so far.
I’m hoping the end comes soon for her as she’s been quite distressed, although she seemed more settled yesterday.
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Not sure if I'm too late but I wanted to put in my two cents as I just went through this with my mom who passed away on Tuesday (10/30). She didn't have diabetes but she has had numerous UTI's, two resulted in sepsis and almost killed her. The last serious one was this past January and she was released on hospice. She rallied very well and ended up staying with us for 8 more months although on a steady decline. For the longest time she was still eating fairly well but almost over night she just decided to stop eating, stop drinking and not really respond. It took her only 5 days of this to finally pass peacefully but my mom was extremely frail and she had been losing weight. I loved her and we were always close but to be honest in the last few months I prayed God would call her home as she could not longer hold herself up or do much of anything else. I'm sorry you are going through this but as others have said, let her know you love her and that its okay for her to go, that you will be okay. I said that to my mom a dozen times and I believe they decide when they want to leave us. If its not too late to call hospice do it right away, they were a God send in all of this! God bless you and her!
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VivWalker Nov 6, 2018
Thank you.
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My sister had vascular dementia caused from three strokes. She didn't eat in her last days. She died within two weeks of not eating. My brother-in-law would try to feed her. Seems she forgot how to chew. He would have to dig the food out of the side of her mouth. She only weighed 67 lbs. at the time of her death.

We called Hospice in about 4 days before she passed. She was in a nursing home. I lived out-of-town when I got there I asked the hospice nurse if we could take her home to die. The next day the ambulance transferred her to her home about 3:40 pm. & by 7:40 pm she had passed away. Of course, they had loaded her with pain meds & xanax before she left the nursing home. She was already in a semi-coma when I arrived. By the time they took her from the nursing home she was in a coma. They provided liquid morphine & xanax. She was struggling to breath, the hospice nurse said we could give her the morphine to try to help her breathing. It didn't work. I played Elvis Presley's gospel song Take My Hand, Precious Lord. As soon as she heard it playing her breathing slowed & she just slipped away. It was truly amazing to see her pass so peaceful. I played the song later & saw the song lasted 3 minutes & a few seconds.

I urge you to bring Hospice in the sooner the better. They are wonderful support not only for the patient but for the family. We used them for my Mother too. We were able to keep her in our home until such time as she passed.
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VivWalker Nov 6, 2018
Thank you
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I don't want to alarm you, but with her age, being a diabetic, not eatting & have very little fluid that her organs should be shutting down one by one. I think the nurses & you are right that she is ready to go.
Unfortunately, the process is different for everyone. I have seen people live long past what would be expected in the some what same condition, I also seen people with less health issue, but others up there in years and stop eatting and drinking go pretty fast.
Like Cwillie stated " it depends on her condition before she decided to stop eatting".

I know this isn't very helpful. I would tell her that "I love you, and you were a good mom, and you can go, it will be ok".

I have found that some people need permission or need to know that their LO will be ok for them to leave this world.
Just my thought.

I am truly sorry that you are going through this.
May God be with you and your mom.
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Please let hospice evalute her. If a person gets better they can always go off of hospice. The hospice staff is experienced and can handle this and all the questions you have at this time. I don't know what I would have done without hospice for my mom in the last 7 months of her life. Medicare pays for hospice.
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Would you be able to request a hospice evaluation?
Are you able to discuss with your mother's doctor what the options are?
Does your mother have any lucid periods when she might be able to express her wishes, or at least give some indication of what help she wants?

I'm very sorry you're facing this.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Get Hospice involved as soon as possible.
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In my 30 years experience I can say this honestly everybody is different. My suggestion is to get a hold of hospice care. They will let her be comfortable and hopefully not suffer let her go with Grace and dignity. Good luck to you both.
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