Asked about DNR for my mum

Hi all, I`m new to the forum. My mum has MS and is currently in a care home with it as she became pretty bad about 3-4 years ago and needs full time care. She was admitted to hospital on Friday past as she had aspirated food into her lung and it caused a pretty bad infection.

Upon admision her oxygen in blood level was less than half, at the time the doctor has talked about putted her in intensive care and possibly on a breathing machine,… They had also asked about DNR and if it was to come to this would I want them to attempt to resusitate her or not. To be honest it is not something that was ever discussed with the family.

She has responed well to treatment and sat and sunday she seemed to be doing well and didnt have to go to intensive care, but today when I went up she seemed not great. I put it down to the IV antiboitics and tiredness however the nurse came around and was attending to her and asked if I was next of kin as the doctor wanted to speak with me.

I got speaking with the doctor and he asked again about if she should be resusitated. This has really knocked me for 6. If she had of been herself today or as she was yesterday on saturday I would of thought it was a proceedure to ask, but as she didnt seem to well I`m fearing the worst and think they know something or suspect something may happen.

Is this a normal proceedure for doctors in hospital to ask next of kin such a question? She has been in hospital a few times in the past few years and we`ve never been asked this before and are quite worried. She is pretty bad with the ms and is bedridden, she is also loosing her swallow which is what caused her to inhale the food… My, my wife and my mums sister are all pretty anxious as to why this has been asked. She is disabled but we all work hard to make her life comfotable and she loves to see her grandchildern, we feel she still has something to live for and it seems like the hospital are just giving up on her… The doctor assured me this wouldnt be the case and she would still receive all treatments whatever we decided…

Is this a normal practise with hospitals?

Hi Jack79,

I am sorry that you and your mother are going though this part of life. I do not want to cause you anymore stress and it is very difficult for us to comment on.

I guess the hospital is asking the family if there are any arrangemets or wishes which have been agreed, so they can plan your mother’s Long Term or Palliative Care PLan.

Some families have already got something arranged or agreed with.

I personally, have a “Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare” set up for my wife to have a legal right over me if things go bad. She can then carryout my wishes without being challenged.

I have also notified my GP and MS Nurse of my wishes for a DNR on my file, not that I am wishing to go but it’s there just in case.

I hope everything works out for you and MUM.

Take care. Andy

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Hi Jack 79’ I’ve only just seen your post, I dont read this area very much. With such a delicate subject I feel really I have no right to comment however I want to say I think you’ve answered your own query, your mum is still enjoying life.

we were asked about this when my Dad was poorly, different illness he was living on intravenous morphine, out of it towards the end we all agreed fortunately he passed away peacefully with all of us around him.

Pauline x

Hello jack, I am afraid it is a question that needs to be asked when a patient is so ill, what I will say though is! A few of the close family should ask for a meeting with the consultant looking after your mum and find out just how ill your mum is. I know this will be difficult but the decision is a difficult one to make. I take it your mum has no way of communicating her own feelings on this matter. So sorry that things have come to this for your mum. xx

I got the feeling when I was asked (admittance due to urosepsis) that the medical staff just like to be prepared for every eventuality. My husand did recover well from that admittance - and it gave me the chance (when he was well) to sit with him and the GP to discuss what “DNR” actually means, and where Steve wanted to be. Mine and Steve’s views on this were very different…he DID want to be resusitated at all costs (whereas I personally wouldn’t want to be). Perhaps it being mentioned at the hospital will give you and your mum the opportunity to have this as a conversation. It’s not an easy one…as with many things, I made a joke of it with Steve - just to keep it lighthearted really

Hi All,

I think this topic is one that is so delicate and sensitive that people just do not fancy talking about, but they should.

It is a “no say” area for all parties involved, the MSer and families.

I find it was better for me, as a MSer to make a joke about it and found it is best to try and make the talk “light hearted”, if possible.

I know they were upset at my choice, but they also knew my strong feelings/wishes.

Later on, now they are happy and say they are glad that we were all able to talk about it and it will not be such a shock WHEN / IF the time comes.

Also the hospital will see/ask the question, eventually.