Discussions that mention morphine

Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia board

Over in my little neck of the woods, when the doctor diagnoses "last stage" the patient is taken off ALL medications and, if required, only given palliative morphine. They are offered fluids, given mouth swabs, offered food, but if they resist we are not to force.

Doctors diagnose "last stage" when the patient is unresponsive, looks exhausted, when carers notice a big 'downfall' in behaviour, looks etc ..

And that's where the palliative care kicks in. We make them as comfy as possible, we play gentle music in the background, dim lights, as I said, palliative morphine (dr. defines the dose but we had a tiny gentleman on 2.5mg as needed - that's a tiny dose - another gentleman last year was on 5mg every 2 hours, each case is different), thickened fluids are offered but usually rejected, we have special flavoured swabs to clean their mouth out, and they usually just suck on those ... but that's it. No more forcing them .. they are allowed to slip gently away . . . there is usually somebody not far away either, and you find that the staff tend to hover around the room and steal moments here and there with the patient, so as to make sure their NOT alone at the time of passing (that being said, it doesn't always happen either). Family are invited to come and spend as much time as possible, not talking, but sitting there holding a hand, wiping a brow, just being there.

It's NOT a nice time, far from it, but it can be made tolerable for everybody.