Specialized diets are known to have a very positive impact on serious conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Sometimes the difference shows up in daily life. A well-managed diet for a diabetic helps him or her feel much better. Low- or no-salt diets reduce swelling and remove the pain or discomfort of edema for someone with heart disease. Sometimes the benefits are more invisible or long-term. A low-fat diet reduces the chance of a heart attack. Important, but not immediately noticeable. Certainly, if your loved one is healthy and active, it is wise to stick to these special diets as much as possible. But in the case of an advanced illness, there are other factors to consider.
Quality of life is important
For instance, the American Dietetic Association supports more-relaxed diets for the frail elderly. After all, eating is not just for nutrition! Food has many social, cultural, and emotional meanings. They have a strong influence on how much we enjoy life.
Comfort foods Eating foods for comfort may be more important for the frail elderly. For a person in the advanced stages of an illness, the joy from eating foods higher in fat may outweigh the benefits of a low-fat diet.
What seems more important right now: Quality of life or the risks of going off a restricted diet?
It can be very upsetting when a seriously ill family member doesn’t eat. But not eating, or eating less, can be a very normal part of the disease process.
Reduced need for food
Sometimes forcing someone to eat can make things worse. If the person you care for is near the end of life, his or her body does not have enough strength to handle digestion. Breathing, thinking, and fighting the disease are all the body can do. In some situations, digesting and going to the bathroom can be painful. For instance, eating may prompt vomiting, diarrhea, or bloating.
Reduced need for water Toward the end of a person’s life, even drinking water can make it difficult to breathe. The body simply can’t process the fluids well. The extra fluids add to a buildup of fluid in the lungs. Food and fluids at the very end of life appear to cause more distress than going without.
What arises for you emotionally if you were to let your loved one eat as he or she wishes?
With many terminal conditions, it is normal to lose one’s appetite. In fact, with diseases such as cancer, feeding a patient artificially through a tube may cause a tumor to grow even faster!
A natural part of the process Loss of appetite is a natural part of the dying process. The effort required to eat, digest, and go to the bathroom simply becomes too much to handle. Forcing food does not help a dying patient “keep up their strength.”
The biology of not eating If a person near the end of life chooses not to eat or drink, think of it as allowing nature to take its course. The person will probably die within 10 to 14 days.
Eating does not prevent dying Eating or drinking will not keep a terminally ill person from dying. If he or she continues to take in fluids, the dying process simply will be prolonged by a few weeks. What is your loved one’s quality of life? Is he or she in pain? Would he or she enjoy a few more weeks in his or her current state?
Not like starving Refusing food or water during a terminal illness does not cause a painful death. Quite the contrary. After a day with no food or water, the body produces a natural painkiller. The patient loses any sensation of hunger or thirst. They even seem to experience a slight euphoria.
Lack of fluids may also help your loved one be more comfortable. It reduces symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, bloating, and diarrhea. It can also help decrease the amount of fluid buildup in the lungs. This can reduce the need for bothersome suctioning procedures. Parched or dry mouth is the only negative side effect of reducing fluids. Lip balm can be used for the lips. Ice chips or a wet washcloth to suck on can help soothe the interior of the mouth.
If your loved one refuses to eat, how can you support them in that decision?
Losing the desire to eat is a natural part of the dying process. Forcing food and fluids can, in fact, cause more discomfort than benefit. Artificial nutrition requires inserting a tube into the body, through the abdomen or through a vein. Fluids with proteins, sugars, and other nutrients can then be pumped into the body through the tube.
Pros and cons The medical procedures necessary for tube feeding can be very distressing for a seriously ill patient. Consider a person with advanced dementia. They don’t understand why the tube is needed. They often fuss at the tube. It is irritating. Sometimes they need to have their arms tied to the bed rail to keep them from pulling out the tube. Tube feeding creates an increased opportunity for infection. It can also cause fluids to build up in the lungs, making it harder to breathe. As a rule, studies indicate that the health benefits of artificial nutrition in advanced illness do not outweigh the negatives.
Difficult decision The artificial feeding decision may be one of the more difficult choices a family has to make. This is especially true if your loved one is no longer able to communicate. You must weigh the pros and cons. Hopefully, there is an advance directive. Or you have had conversations as a family. The more you understand your loved one’s values, the easier the decision will be. How does he or she define “quality of life.” What makes life worth living, from his or her point of view? Will your loved one be able to continue with those treasured relationships or activities?
Here are some thoughts to help with your decision:
Artificial feeding does not prevent dying People who have lost the ability or will to eat are not going to recover from their disease because they are fed artificially. It may prolong how long they live. But it will not prevent them from dying. This is a hard concept for families to grasp.
“Won’t he starve to death?” Is the person you care for asking for food or exhibiting signs of wanting to eat? If not, then the chances are that he or she is not hungry. Your loved one’s disease is simply far enough along that food is no longer a priority. In the natural course of events, he or she is likely to die soon. Deciding against artificial feeding is not going to cause your loved one to die. That process is already in motion. He or she will pass as a result of the illness involved. The decision not to insert a tube simply lets nature take its course without the medical complications of tube feeding. There is no evidence of suffering among people who do not receive artificial feeding. In fact, studies show that they seem to have less fluid buildup and so, less trouble breathing at the end. They appear to have a more peaceful death than those who do receive artificial nutrition.
Postponing the decision Once a family decides to start tube feeding, it automatically sets up the second question, “When should we stop?” Before starting this intervention, you might ask:
What is the benefit? Now? In the long term?
What are the risks and discomforts? Given your loved one’s condition, which of the disadvantages are likely?
Will they ever be able to resume eating? If so, and if it is a stopgap to get past a particular health challenge, it could be worth it.
How much time are we buying? If there’s a reason that is important to the patient or family, then it might be worth doing. For instance, it might give faraway relatives a chance to come and say good-bye.
In situations like this, there is no right or wrong answer. It’s a matter of personal values. Knowing your relative as you do, would he or she want to continue on under these circumstances? Will this intervention allow for a quality of life he or she would welcome?
As an Aging Specialist, a Senior Resource Center and over 20 years experience with Seniors “Solace Hospice” has excelled in comfort care and palliative care! They have been one of our preferred providers for years in Arizona. Their involvement in the Industry, their caring staff and their professional approach is appropriate when families need them most. Costel Roman the Director of Business Relations is the biggest advocate I have met in his Industry. Solace Hospice you are appreciated by thousands of families and Senior Living Communities in Arizona.
We could not be more grateful to Solace Hospice and their staff for taking care of our loved one, even though he was on service a short time. Everyone was so sweet to us and him and were very responsive to our needs and requests. The staff was skilled, informative, and available at any time of the day or night. Most importantly, they care about us. They spend time with us. We laugh together and cry together. We always looked forward to visits. Thank y'all for everything.
I have written only a handful of reviews in my lifetime. I felt this one necessary. I have worked as an employee for Solace Hospice in Phoenix for over a year and a half. The genuine care, respect and compassion for our patients and families is outstanding. Today, our team received a generous gift card from the owner, Thomas, for Thanksgiving. Even more impressive….He and his family stayed up until 3 am cooking a homemade Thanksgiving feast for us. He walked in wearing a suit jacket, sat down and enjoyed the meal along side of us like family with little rest. This is not the first time our owner and management team have gone above and beyond to make us feel appreciated or to help out in difficult times. Thank you! Our office staff does an amazing job of multitasking behind the scenes and I truly wonder how they get it all done. Our Executive Director, Maggie, (whom I’ve nicknamed work horse) is an exceptionally hard worker whom won’t ask for a thing she wouldn’t do herself and more often does so without asking at all. She is intelligent, kind, fair and very supportive. She wears many hats well and makes it look easy. Our nursing staff is incredibly competent, compassionate and juggle the day to day challenges well. Our CNA’s are some of the hardest workers I have ever had the pleasure of working with and no matter how busy things get, they always manage to get everything done. Our Social worker, Shanna, is a wealth of knowledge and is always willing to help out. Our Chaplains are kind, down to earth, compassionate and funny. Our volunteer coordinator, Barbara, is always smiling, knowledgeable and fun. Our marketer, Costel, bends over backwards to meet the needs of patients and families. I am proud and honored to be a part of such an incredible team and have never enjoyed a job more. Thank you to all of the Solace Hospice Team!
I had a great working experience with Solace Hospice and all of the staff I have encountered, open communication and great quality in their service. The people we worked with so far starting with Costel Roman, the RNs Gina and Heidi and amazing social worker Shana enabled us to continue to work with them and refer Solace Hospice.
Been working with Solace Hospice for over a year and never cease to amaze me! They cater to each individuals needs and go beyond the scope of service. Stephanie, Sammy, Diane and Costel are doing a fantastic job, giving 110% of love and hard work and making sure everything that it’s needed arrives within 24 hours. If you’re looking for a great Hospice give them a chance, they will never disappoint.
I was reaching out to try and get some help with my mother. I called this company and was not aware they did not cover all of Arizona. I spoke to a wonderful lady who I think was Bev. She assisted me in finding a hospice for my mom. She had knowledge of hospices in the Prescott area. If I ever move to Phoenix I will be stopping by their offices to say thank you. She held my hand and called me back the next day to make sure that we were getting care for mom. They went above and beyond.
I can’t say enough about Solace Hospice. The level of care and attention to personal detail is so much higher than the other hospice company I dealt with. My family recently experienced the loss of our mother followed by our father in fairly close succession. All I can say is thank you Solace and I wish I had discovered you sooner. My mom’s passing was handled by another company. I can tell you they are not the same. Solace operates with a premium degree of care and compassion during such a difficult time
I cannot thank Solace Hospice enough for the amount of love and support they have provided my family with during this hard time. They were attentive, caring, informative and overall extremely experienced in this field.A special thanks to Maggie, Bevery, Katie, Janet, Diana, (just a few of the many) for the help you provided.Thank you all so much!!!Enea
I work with Solace Hospice and they are fantastic. Costel Roman from Solace Hospice is very professional, high ethics and integrity, and also he is respected and well known by the health community in Arizona. Simply put, it's a pleasure to work with Costel - I strongly recommend him!
I would like to express my gratitude to Costel Roman - Director of Business Relation at Solace Hospice, Thomas Fedzin - Owner of Solace Hospice during a difficult time in my life. There is never an easy moment to loose a loved one. Costel Roman and Solace Hospice have helped my mother to go to Heaven and be with the angels peacefully. God bless all of you for being by my side!!!
Solace Hospic is Definitely #1 Hospic in Arizona a team that’s Compassionate towards the needs of not only patients but owners and also caregivers. Costel Roman is so Professional and always gets the job done . Ask him what he can’t do he will tell you what he can do to make the experience working with solace comfortable as possible. Solace will always be my go to Hospic.
I've worked with multiple staff members at Solace Hospice and each and everyone is so incredible passionate about caring for the community. As a wife of a Director of Nursing at an assisted living facility, I hear often about how important great care -- Solace provides great care!
I absolutely LOVE working with Costel and and Beverly!! Costel (AKA Roman) has excellent communication and I value his team immensely! I highly recommend this team if you are looking for a hospice company with great communication skills, friendly faces, and caring hearts!
As a nurse and the owner of several assisted livings, I have had many encounters with different hospices.Solace Hospice has been amazing and has gone above and beyond for my patients and their families! Always helpful, always receptive to the patients needs and always there when needed.Thank you Solace for the outstanding care and dedication your company and your staff provides.
We are so glad and relieved to have met Costel Roman of Solace Hospice.When he came to our assisted living homes and introduced himself he sat with us and explained Solace Hospice’s vision and approach to compassionate high quality care.We were very pleased to hear that residents and families needs are above all else.These past months we worked along side them with a few of our families in our homes .We cannot praise Costel and all of Solace’s staff Enough on the quality of care,professionalism demonstrated and the compassion showed by all of Solace’s staff to the families and our team.We will only recommend a company to our families if we know and experienced first hand that they are among the best in their profession.Congratulations to Solace for putting together an outstanding team. You guys definitely exceeded 5 stars! Luis Pescador.
We were recently reintroduced to Solace Hospice by Costel Roman and Jesse Watson, two of their community liasons, and in the process were impressed with their client-focused service. The biggest selling point for us as a group home is that they were not going to be a hospice that simply stopped fighting for a client and allowed them to die. Many of our residents and their families initially are fearful of the word “hospice” and typically think it means a death sentence. Many of them are not ready to give up the good fight and Solace has been a partner with our home to ensure the resident, their family, and our group homes are all respected and active partners in the continued care and needs of the resident. Everyone from their intake staff, RNs, and CNAs was compassionate, caring, and dutiful in their tasks. Special mention goes to the Nurse assigned to our home, Sabrina. She helped us guide the resident and their family through the difficult process of passing away, and her knowledge and compassion for my resident and her family will never be forgotten. Owning three different group home locations has given me plenty of experience and exposure to many different Hospice companies, but without a doubt, Solace Hospice is one of the best. I can not recommend them enough, whether you be a group home, a family member of a loved one, or someone looking to work at a hospice company. Thank you Costel, your team provided me much peace of mind. I look forward to continue to working with your team.
I cannot begin to describe the gratitude and appreciation my family feels about the experience we had with Solace Hospice. I didn’t know quite what to expect at the time when my father was on your service. My father had such great care! My concerns were quickly relieved. Thank you for the kindness and compassion you have given to us and for the genuine concern for my father and for our family. We sincerely appreciate your tireless effort to care for all your patients and their loved ones, and your eagerness to assist at every turn.
I own 5 assisted living group homes around the Phoenix area. I am always relieved when my residents and their families choose Solace Hospice to help their loved one. I can always rely on Thomas and his staff to take care of my residents. They interact incredibly well with my caregivers and offer assistance 24/7. And they back it up. There have been numerous times when we needed some help from Solace in the middle of the night. Someone from Solace would come out to the home without hesitation and take care of everything. Thank you Thomas for running such a wonderful company!
Great professional help during a hard time. Thank you for making things easier to manage during our time of need. They gave our loved one lots of comfort any time he needed it. Which added relief to me as I knew he was in good hands. Thank you so much Thomas and staff!
As a care coordinator for multiple assisted living homes, I am grateful for the opportunity to have Solace Hospice care for our residents. Working closely with Thomas and his staff Is always a pleasure. All around, a great experience.
Thomas and staff were always friendly and available to help us. We learned so much about our Client’s situations. They are definitely very knowledgeable and confident of what they do to help our clients in our group home meet their needs.