I receive inquiries every day from near and far, from people trying to organize care for an elderly person in their lives. From time to time, I’ll publish some of those inquiries here, (names withheld of course)along with the advice I’ve given. Hopefully you will find these scenarios instructive and you will come to see that there are many people who are struggling with the very same issues as you. Perhaps you’ll even learn about some new resources or approaches that would work in your own situation.
The following is an interaction stemming from an inquiry about seniors with pneumonia.
Sent: May 4, 2010 9:27 PM
To: Lisa Wiseman
Subject: Loss of appetite
I am desperate for some guidance.
My 88 year old mother has lost her desire to eat. She just recently came down with pneumonia in mid April and was treated with a 7 day prescription of Avelox. After her first pill there was a marked improvement in her pneumonia symptoms and she seemed to be bouncing back. ½ way through her prescription she was still eating.
We were so anxious to cure the pneumonia that we continued the remainder of the prescription, not noticing that she had developed some redness and soreness in her mouth which looked quite painful. Her mouth appears healed now however she does not seem to want to eat. It is a battle just to get some liquids into her.
I am still hoping that the loss of appetite is due to the pneumonia and that she has not made a 100% recovery yet, even though she finished her medication two weeks ago. I have also read some pretty scary things about Avelox.
I know every situation is different and there is always a chance of some underlying condition causing the lack of desire to eat, but to you have any advice or treatment that you can recommend?
I am in the process of trying to assess her care needs, I know we need help with her. I hesitate to take her back to the hospital because she gets so confused when she is out of familiar surroundings. Since her illness I have been working from home half days trying to encourage her to eat and not winning the battle.
Thank you for listening.
There seem to be a number of health concerns for your mother at this time. The most pressing, from what you have described in your e-mail, is fluid intake. If your mother has not been drinking well for the past number of days, she is likely dehydrated and should be taken to an emergency department so that she can be assessed and if needed, receive fluids by IV.
With respect to her pneumonia, often times it is not resolved quickly and it often takes more than the first course of antibiotics. She should be followed by either her doctor or a visiting nurse.
There are various reasons why your mother may be reluctant to eat. I would need to know a little bit more about your mother and her health before offering an opinion.
If you have further questions, would like to provide us with more information or would like to arrange an assessment by a Registered Nurse, please contact us at any time.
Lisa Wiseman BScN RN
Eldercare Home Health Inc.
234 Eglinton Ave. East, Suite 207
T: 416 482-8292
F: 416 482-8278