Our family has been told our Mother who has been in the...

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
Winterlady asked...

Our family has been told our Mother who has been in the local Long Term Care Facility for 2 years now she has advanced Dementia with psychosis, quite possible Vascular Dementia, but she has over the past month started with severe agitation, hollering as one example "help me" over and over even with us around her but she can not tell us when asked what is wrong and what she needs help with, she will say, "I don't know". The more agitated and upset she gets her hand and arms will tremor terribly and then she gets upset about that and starts hollering, "make it stop now, please make it stop". Her physician has tried 2 different medications in the Benzodiazipene family without success, now has put her on an Anti-psychotic med called Zyrexa, this was just started 3 days ago and is expected to take up to a month for any noticeable improvement if she will have any from it. She will be 87 years old in December, she suffers from Vascular disease, Obesity, Severe Arthritis and has been completely bedridden the complete time of her residency there and slowing declining since her admission.

What I would like to ask is should we consider putting Mom into a Hospice situation that will only keep her as comfortable as possible until she passes? The problem we are struggling with on this issue is no one can tell us how long she is expected to live and suffer with this disease so how can we consider Hospice?

Please help with some expert advice!

Expert Answers

Mikol Davis, PhD has worked in community hospitals with geriatric patients suffering from dementia, depression, and other psychiatric problems. He has a doctorate in Psychology from the University of San Francisco and has been in private practice in Marin County, California. Davis co-founded AgingParents.com with his wife, Carolyn Rosenblatt.

Dear Family member who is caring for a parent with multiple behavior problems. Let me first address your question about using Hospice. Before you look into this option you need to have a serious talk with your mothers doctor about her condition. Generally Hospice is called in when the physician assesses that the person is terminal with months left to live. Therefore you may not be at this crossroads as of yet. Secondly, the use of Zyprexa is most appropriate to help your mom better cope with her psychotic behaviors. Consider getting a new book on
"How to Stand Up for Your Elder in the Health Care System," by Carolyn Rosenblatt, R.N., Attorney. She is my wife and partner at AgingParents.com and has written this book to help us all become better consumers for our elders.