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Carers UK Forum • Whether to withdraw a feeding tube
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Whether to withdraw a feeding tube

Posted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:44 pm
by baked bean
Hello, a newbie here in search of some advice.

My father in his 80s has vascular parkinsons his condition has worsened over the last few years and just over 2 weeks ago he stopped eating and drinking completely and with renal failure was rushed to hospital with not much time left to live. The doctors told us the worse and gave him 48 hours to respond to treatment

He was given fluids and fortunately his kidneys started functioning again. However he has lost his swallow function and cannot eat or drink normally. He then contracted pneumonia and was regarded as 'nil by mouth'. My mother and I were given the decision as to whether or not to feed him artificially through a nasal tube and given careful thought we thought this would be in his best interests to have a chance of surviving. The doctors didn't believe that due to his short term memory that he did not possess the capacity to decide this for himself. Without these fluids and nutrition he certainly now would not be alive. After 2 weeks of feeding through a nasal tube the Doctors wish to make a decision as what to do next (it is unlikely he would be a candidate for a PEG tube in the stomach to feed him) and I don't want them to pressure myself or my mother into a decision dare I say it due to financial considerations!). The decision they would like us to make I think is to withdraw feeding and to make him comfortable and allow him to die, they are concerned about his quality of life and longevity after this.

He really was in a terrible state when he came into hospital. But has improved now and I can have an enjoyable conversation with him. He doesn't read or want to listen to anything and his quality of life has declined significantly in recent years. After visiting him today he was asking when he would be able to walk again (his mobility has been declining recently but up until arriving in hospital he was able to dress himself and walk albeit slowly upstairs), and was concerned about the slippery carpet at home and asked if he could have a frame to help him walk.

I took this to be positive and feel that if he was, however there have been times in hospital where he has defecated and urinated all over the bed, at times like these I feel the end is perhaps better? But the last few days have seen him more animated due to the nutrition he is receiving. My mother who has cared for him as I live away wouldn't be able to cope with the care that he would now need, and he would almost certainly have to go into a home.

With his desire to walk around the house at home I feel it would be wrong to let him die and at other times I see he doesn't have a dignified existence.

Sorry for the long post but I am just wondering if anyone else has been in a similar situation and is able to give me some advice.