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End-of-Life Comfort Drugs Provided By Hospice Sometimes Misunderstood

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Photo credit Sam-x

Dear Carol: My mother, who has advanced dementia, went into a nursing home six months ago. She’s received excellent care but is now declining quickly so that she no longer swallows any type of food. Her doctor has determined that she is ready for hospice and that makes sense to me. Hospice took her off of medications that didn’t seem to be helping and then prescribed some occasional Ativan for agitation and low-dose morphine for pain. Her response has been satisfying to watch since she’s more alert and far more peaceful than she has been. Here’s the problem. I’ve gone to a support group for several years and there are a couple of people in the group that are completely anti-drug for Alzheimer’s so they are adamantly against the use of both Ativan and morphine for my mom. I don’t get it. Mom is dying. She was jerking around in pain and crying and now she’s responsive and comfortable. How do I get through to them that when people are dying everything changes? – HY

Read the full column on Inforum to learn more about end-of-life medications: 

MedicareFAQ – Medicare Resource Center

Support a caregiver or jump-start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders of Minding Our Elders e-mail Carol  

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