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I have a question about the 'palliative care' my mum is currently receiving in a nursing home. I hope someone can advise us.
My mum (who has terminal bowel cancer, dementia and several other age-related conditions) stopped communicating and eating/drinking four days ago. She was seen by a GP, who prescribed morphine patches as she seemed to be in some distress (groaning, gritting her teeth and moving her hands around). Since then she seems to be in a semi-conscious state.
We do not know what we should be doing, or asking the staff to do, now that my mum has reached this stage. We realise she may die in the next few days, but the only care she is receiving is a nurse giving morphine by mouth or lately using a patch, and carers checking every so often to see whether she is still breathing.
We are not sure whether this is sufficient to keep my poor mum comfortable, and now that she is heavily sedated it is impossible to tell. For example, should we be checking her hydration, or moistening her lips? Should she be turned? Should we try and communicate with her? We are afraid if we rouse her she will be in even more pain. Should we stay overnight at the care home so we can be there in case she does wake up?
Please help. We are at a loss, and the staff at the care home just keep saying it is 'up to us' and do not have any specific guidance for us. But we have never been with someone who is dying before so we don't know what to do for the best. We feel as if we are just sitting here and waiting for her to die, but not doing anything useful to ease her passage. She is so dearly loved by all of her daughters, and we can't bear to think we aren't doing everything we can to help her.