When Things Get Hard to Swallow, Part 2Posted on February 12, 2014 by ecrBayArea in Alzheimers Care, Geriatric Care Management, hard to swallow, health, Memory Loss
We counsel many families on how to manage physical and mental decline and are advocates for the older adult. Sometimes after hearing our client and family wishes, WE are the advocates pushing the action. Dr. Landsverk can be one of the physicians we turn to on your behalf. More about Kira Reginato – Creative Counseling for Elders and Families, Inc.
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Recently, I came across this story from a family that inspired more thoughts about swallowing: An elderly woman suddenly started holding her breath. She gagged whenever she tried to eat, and she started spitting up saliva. Her daughter, a nurse, thought, “Oh my God, this is it.” The daughter rushed her mother to the emergency room. The doctors at the ER confirmed the daughter’s fears: Her mother’s dementia had progressed, they said. Her mother was losing the ability to swallow, a development that often marks the beginning of the end. The daughter asked the physicians to do what’s called a “swallow evaluation,” in which a doctor would thread an “endoscope” down the patient’s throat to see what was going on. The ER docs refused to do this, and suggested that the daughter arrange for it through primary care. The next day, her mother started holding her breath again and was really beginning to suffer, so the daughter took her back to the ER. At first, the doctors didn’t want to admit her mother, but they finally relented. Again, the doctors insisted that the daughter needed to accept that the dementia had progressed, that this “was it” and so on. The daughter responded that she was willing to make the hard decisions when the time came. But she wanted to be sure that she’d exhausted all possibilities first. She pushed for the endoscopic examination of her mother’s throat. Finally, the doctors relented. – See more at: http://elderconsult.com/hard-to-swallow-part-2/#sthash.tcywrzEA.dpuf