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Old 08-19-2011, 09:41 PM
 
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Imcurious, many people in nursing homes DO will themselves to die by stopping eating and stopping drinking liquids.

My grandfather did that and so did my father, both in nursing homes. It is quite common. They just stop eating and they are dead within a week or so.
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Old 08-19-2011, 09:46 PM
 
Location: earth?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by susanra View Post
Imcurious, many people in nursing homes DO will themselves to die by stopping eating and stopping drinking liquids.

My grandfather did that and so did my father, both in nursing homes. It is quite common. They just stop eating and they are dead within a week or so.
I didn't know that. That must be hard for the families to watch. Were you aware that that was what they were doing at the time, or in retrospect?
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Old 08-19-2011, 10:28 PM
 
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Some can survive for years. Why? We may never know, but I think that in some cases where there is a failing mental awareness, the person simply does not realize that the end could be near. They just live for the day. They don't even think about dying. They just exist.

If a person is aware, I think the despondency that would come with living in a NH with no hope of improvement, would be enough to hasten the end. It would certainly reduce the appetite. With less food, the end would come quicker.
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Old 08-19-2011, 10:37 PM
 
Location: Arizona
419 posts, read 657,764 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by susanra View Post
Imcurious, many people in nursing homes DO will themselves to die by stopping eating and stopping drinking liquids.

My grandfather did that and so did my father, both in nursing homes. It is quite common. They just stop eating and they are dead within a week or so.
My mother was not in a nursing home but in a hospice facility. She also stopped eating & drinking. The hospice nurses explained to me that this was part of the dying process. These people are not willing themselves to die. It is the beginning of their organs shutting down finally ending in death.
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Old 08-19-2011, 11:09 PM
 
Location: earth?
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Originally Posted by SCBaker View Post
My mother was not in a nursing home but in a hospice facility. She also stopped eating & drinking. The hospice nurses explained to me that this was part of the dying process. These people are not willing themselves to die. It is the beginning of their organs shutting down finally ending in death.
I am interested in how you can possibly know that.


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Old 08-20-2011, 12:23 AM
 
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Even old, sick people don't want to die. They want to live life the way it used to be, but at some point that's not possible.

My dad died last August and my mom died six months later in February. He had prostate cancer and we thought it was under control. In retrospect, I'm sure he knew it wasn't, but he kept it to himself. He was in a lot of pain we found out after, because the cancer had spread to his bones all over his body. He never liked to go to the doctor or have a big fuss made over him, and I don't think he wanted that when he died, either.

He had taken care of my mom, who had congestive heart failure, and although HE didn't want to go to hospitals, etc., he made sure she had the best care she could get. In a way I feel like doctors kept her alive for several years after she would have naturally died if it were say 100 years ago and she didn't have all the medical support and medications she had. And her quality of life wasn't good for the last few years, either, so I can't say that I think it's a good thing. She was on oxygen, taking a lot of medication, needed help getting to the bathroom (or anywhere really), and often didn't make it to the bathroom, and was just weak and very debilitated. She'd get therapy and get some better, but she was just existing. Once my dad died she said she didn't want to be here anymore. She lasted six months.

I really believe that the doctors kept treating her and hospitalizing her and giving her this and that and doing this and that procedure to keep the money flowing in as long as they could. The doctor even talked about putting her on dialysis and that is where I was going to draw the line. She was 91 years old and I felt like they were just propping her up the best they could to keep her going and keep the money flowing in. Maybe that's cynical, but that's how I felt - even when they put her on hospice at the end. The doctor explained that if she was on hospice he'd still be her doctor/still see her (she really liked him), but he'd come to the nursing home to see her instead of her coming to the office. He never saw her once after she went on hospice (oh, he also was the medical director of the hospice service).

Anyway, when the time comes I plan to do things more the way my dad did. I want a natural death. I don't want to be hospitalized every other week and given everything in the world to keep me alive for as long as possible. I will probably be secretive about it the way he was, so no one can intervene and force me into treatment that keeps me alive.

I did read something that before days of modern medicine, people lived out their lives being relatively healthy and then when they got sick, they didn't have a long protracted illness before they died. They were fine, then they'd be sick and die. So it wasn't like relatives who cared for sick family members were caring for someone for years and years, it was a relatively short period. Things are so different now.

I do believe in the sanctity of human life, but I think we should let people die with dignity instead of keeping them alive at all costs, especially when they have no qualify of life and if it's so doctors and nursing homes can keep billing Medicare.
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Old 08-20-2011, 12:52 AM
 
Location: San Antonio, Texas
777 posts, read 955,536 times
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I don't quite know where to start here...but I will say I was a CNA in nursing homes for almost 20 years..I have seen alot of people die. Some went so quickly and peacefully and some lingered so long the families were in anguish.
I think it is a process.. dieing, and it starts with a general loss of interest in life itself...you can't drive anymore so you lose contact with acquentinces, you can't hear anymore so you can't talk on the phone or listen to the radio..you can't see anymore so you quit watching tv and reading. The kids and grandkids are grown, you're on a special diet, so cooking is no fun. Thats why it's so important to keep active to stay involved with life. If your spouse preceeds you and you are not involved it so easy to slip away. To stop caring for yourself, to not pick up after yourself, to stop eating....
I have always said it only takes 30 seconds to completely change your life...one minute you are taking out the trash and the next you on the floor with a broken hip..put all the above into play and you could very well find yourself in a nursing home.
Being in a nursing home prolongs your life because you are constantly being monitored medically. If you have a heart condition your vital signs are taken every day..if you are diabetic they may be taken 2x a day. If you run a fever for more then 8-24 hours the doctor is called, your vitals are taken every shift, tests are run and you are put on antibiotics. Pnuemonia used to be called "the old mans friend" because it was a quick death. No more... If your blood pressure is higher then a certain number your medication is adjusted. If you have something contagious you are put in quarantine so no-one else gets what you have. The house doctor is required by law to visit regularly. The podiatrist comes regularly and the dentist even comes if necessary.
You are given 3 meals a day prepared specifically for your diet. If you have had a stroke your food is prepared to the consistancy required for you to be able to consume it. I was specifically trained to feed stroke patients as well as patients on feeding tubes. Go into the dining room of your local nursing home during meal times and you will see CNAs feeding patients. We are trained to encourage (feed) those that don't want to eat. Actually we are mandated by law to feed those that don't want to eat..if a person loses weight it is investigated by the state...there is no room for "Well, he just stopped eating."
If you have dementia you also can't say "I don't want a shower today"..you are cajoled, sweet talked and as a final resort medicated so that you can be bathed. (That was the hardest part of the job for me..)
You are actively and passively exercised so that you remain flexible..they have special machines that help you to stand so that you bear weight to keep your osteoporosus from getting worse. There are special lifts for those that are unable to stand for transfers and bathing.
Nursing homes are very closely monitored by the state especially if they have had problem surveys. If a person developes a bedsore it is investigated by the state. All "incidents" skin tears, falls, occurances between residents and or staff.. these are all reported to the state. Even if you have the will to die the NH staff are required by law to do every thing medically necessary to keep you alive, except in the case of CPR and a DNR.
I think that Suzie Orman needs to look at her statistics again...I would say the average nursing home stay is closer to 2-5 years. When I started working at one NH I had a permanent section of 10 residents..I worked there 61/2 years. The month before I left my last patient of my original 10 had just died. And they had been there several years before I got there.
I would spend the money on LTC insurance especially if you have a family history of dementia, diabetes, parkinsons, any heart related issues or longevity of 90 plus years. It is important to make out your living will and your medical directive...be as specific as you feel is necessary to let you family know your wishes. When my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary we sat down with them and had a family meeting about all of the above...5 kids and we are all on the same page. They have been together 65 years now and every thing just got updated.
These are my insights...I hope this answers some of your questions.

Last edited by Chanygirl; 08-20-2011 at 01:04 AM..
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Old 08-20-2011, 01:13 AM
 
Location: earth?
7,288 posts, read 10,849,575 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chanygirl View Post
I don't quite know where to start here...but I will say I was a CNA in nursing homes for almost 20 years..I have seen alot of people die. Some went so quickly and peacefully and some lingered so long the families were in anguish.
I think it is a process.. dieing, and it starts with a general loss of interest in life itself...you can't drive anymore so you lose contact with acquentinces, you can't hear anymore so you can't talk on the phone or listen to the radio..you can't see anymore so you quit watching tv and reading. The kids and grandkids are grown, you're on a special diet, so cooking is no fun. Thats why it's so important to keep active to stay involved with life. If your spouse preceeds you and you are not involved it so easy to slip away. To stop caring for yourself, to not pick up after yourself, to stop eating....
I have always said it only takes 30 seconds to completely change your life...one minute you are taking out the trash and the next you on the floor with a broken hip..put all the above into play and you could very well find yourself in a nursing home.
Being in a nursing home prolongs your life because you are constantly being monitored medically. If you have a heart condition your vital signs are taken every day..if you are diabetic they may be taken 2x a day. If you run a fever for more then 8-24 hours the doctor is called, your vitals are taken every shift, tests are run and you are put on antibiotics. Pnuemonia used to be called "the old mans friend" because it was a quick death. No more... If your blood pressure is higher then a certain number your medication is adjusted. If you have something contagious you are put in quarantine so no-one else gets what you have. The house doctor is required by law to visit regularly. The podiatrist comes regularly and the dentist even comes if necessary.
You are given 3 meals a day prepared specifically for your diet. If you have had a stroke your food is prepared to the consistancy required for you to be able to consume it. I was specifically trained to feed stroke patients as well as patients on feeding tubes. Go into the dining room of your local nursing home during meal times and you will see CNAs feeding patients. We are trained to encourage (feed) those that don't want to eat. Actually we are mandated by law to feed those that don't want to eat..if a person loses weight it is investigated by the state...there is no room for "Well, he just stopped eating."
If you have dementia you also can't say "I don't want a shower today"..you are cajoled, sweet talked and as a final resort medicated so that you can be bathed. (That was the hardest part of the job for me..)
You are actively and passively exercised so that you remain flexible..they have special machines that help you to stand so that you bear weight to keep your osteoporosus from getting worse. There are special lifts for those that are unable to stand for transfers and bathing.
Nursing homes are very closely monitored by the state especially if they have had problem surveys. If a person developes a bedsore it is investigated by the state. All "incidents" skin tears, falls, occurances between residents and or staff.. these are all reported to the state. Even if you have the will to die the NH staff are required by law to do every thing medically necessary to keep you alive, except in the case of CPR and a DNR.
I think that Suzie Orman needs to look at her statistics again...I would say the average nursing home stay is closer to 2-5 years. When I started working at one NH I had a permanent section of 10 residents..I worked there 61/2 years. The month before I left my last patient of my original 10 had just died. And they had been there several years before I got there.
I would spend the money on LTC insurance especially if you have a family history of dementia, diabetes, parkinsons, any heart related issues or longevity of 90 plus years. It is important to make out your living will and your medical directive...be as specific as you feel is necessary to let you family know your wishes. When my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary we sat down with them and had a family meeting about all of the above...5 kids and we are all on the same page. They have been together 65 years now and every thing just got updated.
These are my insights...I hope this answers some of your questions.
I really appreciate hearing all of the perspectives and insights people have. Thank you so much for sharing. I am learning a lot. Thank you!
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Old 08-20-2011, 02:23 AM
 
Location: Tucson/Nogales
17,372 posts, read 21,218,356 times
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I'm also a CNA at a LTC/Rehab facility, and I've shaken my head so many times, over the years, I'm surprised my head's still on!

Particularly, those who get no visitors, no family. Hanging on, why? Some miracle cure is right around the corner that will get them back to normal?

What these facilities really need, and I could see the resistance to it from any Administrator or various others with vested interests, is a death counselor on sight. Coaking people to let go! And yes, I believe you can will your own death!

But then, there are those deep religious types, who say it's all part of God's will, I'll let God make that decision.

And was it ever part of God's plan to keep people alive artificially? And then there's deeply religous spouses who will also say: When the time comes, God will decide!

Last edited by tijlover; 08-20-2011 at 02:29 AM.. Reason: edit
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Old 08-20-2011, 07:09 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,726,438 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCBaker View Post
My mother was not in a nursing home but in a hospice facility. She also stopped eating & drinking. The hospice nurses explained to me that this was part of the dying process. These people are not willing themselves to die. It is the beginning of their organs shutting down finally ending in death.
I have read the same thing, but I cannot remember where I read it.
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