I am looking for advice my elderly mother is in a care home just now. She has a few health problems but since march she has been refusing to eat solid foods the home have tried everything to encourage her to eat and it is getting to the stage she doesn’t want to take her medication. Her weight has went down to 6stone and it breaks my heart seeing her like this. Can i ask doctor to try a stay in hospital to be tube fed. I do have power of attorney for her.any advice would be grateful.
I am very sorry to read this and I will reply now, though others will be around later with perhaps different advice.
May I ask how old your mother is? I have no experience of arranging tube feeding. I do have experience of my brother who was bedridden for the last years, gradually lost his appetite and had increasing difficulty swallowing. Only a week before he died he was seen at a hospital where tests on his throat and swallowing ability were conducted (has this been done for your mother?). They found no obvious problems but tested what consistency of food he could eat. Mashed banana was one of the test foods.
However, looking back on it I decided that he had these swallowing problems because he was at the end of life. I can imagine this is not what you want to hear, but it is often said on this forum that swallowing and eating difficulties are common in the last stages of life. At the same time, if this is the case, the doctors won’t tell us that. I think you are on your own here with the decision. I would imagine that if you asked for tube feeding, there would have to be tests first to determine that your mother cannot eat in any other way. What is her current quality of life?
I am writing this so you get a reply - others may disagree.
I would definitely be speaking directly to the GP attending your mother. Don’t be put off by the home, she needs full time nursing care rather than just a “care home”
They have to keep you fully informed of her health status and what they feel they can do for her.
Good Luck Debbie x
If ever CHC / NHS Continuing Healthcare comes into the equation … every likelihood here … main thread :
In short … if you don’t ask , your caree doesn’t get.
Thank you for your reply my mum is 71 soon.We all think she is not wanting to eat intentionally as i know she has had enough we try with yogurts or soft liquids but just refuses she just says she is not hungry will get it later. I will see the doctor on Tuesday when she comes in to ask what next can be done.x
Yes im going to speak to doctor on Tuesday when he comes in. It is heartbreaking to see her wasting away she keeps saying she needs help but when asked she doesn’t know.
All the following is rhetorical for you to consider, not to reply to openly here.
Refusing food is about the only power she has left. I assume she is in a Home because she has other health issues too?
Rather than fighting or overriding her decision , painful as it maybe, consider what she is thinking and feeling. We live in a country where end of life is so rarely talked about that people fear backlash or reprisal if they do state their wishes…
Personally I find it courageous and and admire her wish to spare you too much more distress. If she were to be forced fed, who would it benefit most, her or you?
Sad times indeed, but her life will end at some point, we cannot keep loved ones with us forever. It is part of life’s cycle