Aug 25, 2011

Deciding to Die, Then Shown the Door

“Their great fear was that they’d end up in a nursing home,” their son, Neil Rudolph, told me. “That was hell for them, to have people waiting on them, to have no independence.”

Alzheimer's Reading Room

Deciding to Die, Then Shown the Door
Armond and Dorothy Rudolph
Would you consider assisted suicide if you were diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease?

Have you thought about the alternatives? About the right to die?

Are you familiar with Compassion and Choices? The aid in dying movement?

Did you know that Oregon nurses report that some hospice patients choose to hasten death by stopping food and fluids, and that the quality of the process of dying for most of these patients is good. See Nurses' Experiences with Hospice Patients Who Refuse Food and Fluids to Hasten Death, the New England Journal of Medicine.

I am not taking any position on these issues. The information above and below is just that -- information. Food for thought and discussion.

Excerpts from Deciding to Die, Then Shown the Door
Armond and Dorothy Rudolph had talked about their plans for more than a decade. They had a mutual horror of a lingering decline in their final years. They’d joined an organization that supports the right to end life when illness or pain becomes overwhelming; they’d attended meetings and given both their children literature on the subject. They’d drafted advance directives.
Mrs. Rudolph had nursed her own mother through four years of bone cancer, he said. “She saw her mother die a slow, wasting death. She felt pinned down for years, and she felt guilty about feeling pinned down. She didn’t want that to be our experience.”
So in January, they set in motion their plan to stop eating and drinking ... And the facility tried to evict the couple. The administrators, apparently on orders from the corporate legal department in Maryland, told the family the Rudolphs had to leave the next day.
Voluntarily stopping eating and drinking — as the Rudolphs had learned from consulting with Compassion & Choices, the largest national organization working to expand end-of-life options — is a legal way to hasten death without drugs or violence, usually in about two weeks. In a survey of hospice nurses in Oregon, published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2003, respondents reported that most of their terminally ill patients who had deliberately refused food and fluids had “a good death,” with low levels of pain or suffering.

Read Deciding to Die, Then Shown the Door

After reading, your thoughts, comments and opinion?

Tip of the hat to Chuck Totaro for hipping me to this article.

More Insight and Advice for Caregivers

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room