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Two years ago we placed our mother in a residential facility for Alzheimer's/dementia -- one of those locked down 24/7 attended houses with 3 - 6 patients. Her general health at 83 was fine, but she was no longer able to care for herself mentally. My sister and I are in agreement that the quality of her life and her personal happiness has been very low. Thankfully she has been very sweet and easy to deal with overall. A week ago she went into surgery for a herniated bowel. She is still in ICU, now has pneumonia, isn't eating, and her digestive system has not 'restarted.' This is the limbo area before palliative care, I assume? We feel that there is very little chance of her recovering, but the hospital continues to treat her as if that's the goal since she does not actually have a terminal illness. I guess this is just the waiting game, but we so hate to see our mother subjected to what amounts to prolonged agony. The death with dignity concept seems to be just that-a concept.

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Many hospitals seem to still think they need to go for a cure, even when the attempt to do so is worse than letting a person heal the best they can and have palliative care. It sounds as though your mother will be terminal before long. It's sad that she has to be put through this first.

Have you contacted your local hospice? Often people think they have to wait longer for hospice care than they do. I've known people who have gone on hospice, but improved and gone off - sometimes several times. I'd call hospice and discuss this issue. Good luck. Your heart is in the right place,
Carol
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barr: I agree with Carol...hospice workers have a completely different mind-set than the general medical staff. They may also be able to bridge the communication gap for you.
My friend just went through this recently with his grandmother. She was terminally ill, but he was plagued by guilt and didn't know whether to, as Carol said, "go for a cure" or let her rest peacefully and let nature take its course. Thankfully the hospice people arrived and helped him with her final days...bless them. Dying is a natural part of life...it should not be made unnatural by extreme medical intervention. I think the answer is education.
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