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30 Aug 2018 2 Respondents
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By Vanessa Peutherer
Boss (11700 XP)
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Leave Me Alone !- Weekly Snapshot - All health and social care professionals - Patient preference in decision-making

Leave Me Alone !- Weekly Snapshot - All health and social care professionals - Patient preference in decision-making


Audrey is a frail 98 year old who has been living in a care home since the death of her husband, Bob,12 months ago.  Audrey and Bob were married for 70 years.  Audrey has no surviving family or friends and values her privacy and her independence, rarely choosing to join in with activities that the other residents take part in, within the communal day room area.  Audrey has always eaten her meals in her room, but lately she has been eating less and less.

In the last week, Audrey has stopped eating all together and says that she does not want to be fed by alternative methods to sustain her life. It is assumed that Audrey has capacity ( in law).  She also says that she has had enough of life, and she feels sad, lonely and just wants to 'join her husband in heaven.' Audrey has no terminal illness present but she suffers with long-standing and severe arthritis which limits her mobility, this has deteriorated also over the last 12 months. Audrey has lost 6 kilograms in weight in the last 2 weeks - she is currently  weighing in at 55kg. Audrey is still drinking water only.

You are the health professional in charge of the care of Audrey, and you are unsure of what to do . If you respect Audrey's wishes then you will also be contributing to her demise, if you force her to take nutrition in another way such as a parental feed  then you will be sustaining her life but going against her  preference.

What would you do in this situation?

It is proposed that you respect Audrey's preference to not eat if this is what she chooses.

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Agreement