Is this normal?

0 answers | Last updated: Sep 09, 2016
Eldest son asked...

Hello My Mother, now aged 77, was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia five years ago. After two years it was severe enough to require my Mum to be admitted to a Care Home that specialises in Dementia. After about a year in the home, Mum's speech deteriorated to such an extent that much of what she said changed from mostly confabulation to completely incoherent sentences and utterances. Her physical appearance has altered with dramatic weight loss and recently she has been losing her hair. In the past four months, Mum has been hospitalised three times with respiratory problems coinciding with bouts of dehydration. This week I was called into the home to be told that the hospital had said that this third respiratory attack would more than likely be the catalyst for her death and that all her normal medication (for blood pressure, anti-anxiety etc.) had now been stopped and they were preparing to administer what they termed as 'end of life' drugs ( including, but not exclusively, morphine) and were ensuring that she wasn't to die of choking or pneumonia. She has a history of asthma and bronchitis and ten years ago had two thirds of one lung removed because of lung cancer.

When I travelled to see her, I found her sitting up, eating a breakfast and then subsequently walking around as if she had a surplus of energy. More surprising than anything else was her regained ability to have some sort of conversation including the ability to recognise and name four of my children from photographs. Her sense of humour had miraculously resurfaced. I was told by the specialist Pallative Carer at the home that this was expected behaviour from Dementia patients at the end of their life. The following two days when I visited, I found my Mum's miracle recovery to have dwindled somewhat and she had returned to some timid/worried behaviour but was still active and walking albeit feebly. She has since been prescribed with anti-anxiety medication. I am having trouble coming to terms with this policy that the hospital sent her back to the Care Home to die. It seems like an unofficial form of euthanasia to me and some in my family. I would be grateful for your advice and opinion of this situation.

I should at this point mention that this is all taking place in the UK not USA.

Many thanks if you are able to assist in this matter.

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