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An_245772 posted:
I just recently started taking care of an 83 yr old women that has heart issues and from what family members tell me has mini strokes. They are unable to care for her and afford to pay a nursing home. She has had a few strokes and ended up in a nursing home which she was in since 2008. Medicare stopped paying for the home and they had to remove her, this is how I ended up being her caregiver. My question is she has been here for a total of 5 days in which she has only eaten a little bit (and I am meaning about 3 bites per meal) and doesnt want to drink. Im forcing her to drink small amounts of pedialite. She now has diarrhea and doesnt comunicate at all, has a blank stare she will move her eyes but thats about it. I am thinking she has had another stroke but her family does not want her to be sent to the hospital, any suggestions on what I can do to get fluids down her an get her to eat? I do not want her to dehydrate.
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Richard C Senelick, MD responded:
I think think this is a situation where you have to respect the wishes of the patient's family. If the patient cannnot make decisions in her own interest, then it is up to her surrogate ( family). This sounds like an "end of life" decision and there may be very little to do other than keep her comfortable. Sir William Osler was a famous physician who said, "Pneumonia is the old man's best friend." There is a time when there is really nothing else to do but keep someone confortable.

If you are uncomfortable in this role,then you should express that to the family and ask them to kind another caregiver. These can be difficult decisions for all involved, but are best handled by talking openly about them.

Good Luck.
After your stroke you may be experiencing a new normal, but remember what George Eliot said- It is never too late to be what you might have been. You still can achieve new goals.


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Richard C. Senelick M.D. is a physician specializing in both neurology and the subspecialty of neurorehabilitation. He did his undergraduate and medic...More

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