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Mother's Rights(3 Posts)
This is complicated so I hope that you will bear with me...
My mother (91) was admitted to hospital from her own home 2 weeks ago. She hadn't been eating and barely drinking for a number of weeks. She was very dizzy, could hardly stand and couldn't walk more than couple of paces before needing to rest. She really didn't want to go into hospital and I called her GP to ask for a home visit but was told to call an ambulance. On admission they found high levels of calcium in her blood. A CT scan, revealed a 'mass' in her pancreas which has spread to her bowel and also a nodule in her breast. They presume it is cancer but can't do a biopsy because of her age and infirmity so they proposed palliative care.
They keep giving intravenous fluids to hydrate her because she is hardly drinking at all. My mother is very confused and keeps pulling the canula out. She has not eaten since she was admitted and one of the nurses said that they might try a nasogastric tube. I think that she would probably pull this out too.
I feel that this is all so wrong and is verging on assault. She has said many times to me that she believes that this is the end and she is quite reconciled to dying. She doesn't want to be 'pushed and pulled about'. Doesn't want to be in hospital and just wants to go quietly in her sleep.
It makes no sense to me that on the one hand, they are trying to keep her going with IV fluids while telling me that palliative care is all that can be done. If palliative care means 'keeping her comfortable' then they are doing the opposite by forcing IV fluids on her. They did say that she needs to be medically fit for discharge so I am wondering whether what they are doing is in their own interests rather than hers.
I want the days/weeks/months before she dies to be comfortable. I have told them that I will care for her at home when she is discharged (something that frightens me but I can't bear for her to go into care).
My question is, can I tell them to stop the IV fluids and not to give her a nasogastric tube? I don't have POA.
The quality of her life is zero at the moment. Her confusion has worsened considerably since going into hospital. Half of the time she thinks that she is in Australia or I am in Italy - even though I visit twice a day. She can get quite verbally abusive - but I think that she is taking a stand in the only way she is able to.
Thanks for reading this far. If anyone can offer some advice, I would be very grateful
You need to ask to meet with her doctors, and talk frankly with them about your wishes. They can then make the decision with you about what is in your mums best wishes.
Is she being cared for by a palliative care team? If theres a hospice close to you, you could ask for your mum to be referred there as they are much better at end of life decisions than hospital staff who inevitably are used to doing all they can to extend life.
I hope you and the staff manage to work together to find a dignified and comfortable path for your mum
Thank you so much for responding CMOTDibbler. I spoke to one of the registrars yesterday evening and told them that I felt that this level of intervention was inappropriate. They agreed and have now stopped IV fluids. Going to be there for consultant's round this morning.
She isn't being cared for by a palliative care team but I am going to ask that she is referred to our local 'hospice at home' service when she is discharged.
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