Hi, it’s Patrik Hutzel from INTENSIVECAREHOTLINE.COM , where we instantly improve the lives of Families of critically ill Patients in Intensive Care, so that you can make informed decisions, get PEACE OF MIND, real power, real control and so that you can influence decision making fast, even if you’re not a doctor or a nurse in Intensive Care!
This is another episode of “your questions answered” and in last week’s episode I answered another question from one of our readers and the question last week was “My Dad had a stroke, has been in Intensive Care for more than 2 ½ months now and is still ventilated, will he ever get off the ventilator?”
You can check out the answer to last week’s question here.
In this week’s episode of “YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED” I answer another very important and also one of our most frequently asked questions from our readers and the question this week is
“HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO DIE AFTER REMOVING THE BREATHING MACHINE OR LIFE SUPPORT?”
If your loved one has been in Intensive Care for critical illness and if your loved one is in a situation where the Intensive Care team has suggested to you and your Family that stopping life support or “withdrawing treatment” would be “in the best interest” of your critically ill loved one, then you and your Family might be wondering how long it will actually take until your loved one will actually pass away?
First of all, if you are in this difficult, challenging and also “ONCE IN A LIFETIME” situation that you are about to lose a loved one to critical illness in Intensive Care, then I can only empathize how terrible and awful you and your Family must feel and I can only empathize the pain and the frustration you must be going through.
You and your Family are facing your worst nightmares!
Intensive Care is not an easy environment after all and if anything it’s generally testing the faith, the spirit, the belief systems and the values people have. You and your Family are going through a huge challenge and that’s even more so if your loved one is approaching their end of life in Intensive Care!
Let’s face it, after you and your Family have come to the conclusion after you’ve had meetings with the Intensive Care team and also after you have done your own independent research here at INTENSIVECAREHOTLINE.COM that the end of the life of your critically ill loved one is inevitable, you and your Family want to make sure that your critically ill loved one isn’t going to suffer unnecessarily and maybe you also want to get the timing right in this end of life situation, because you may want to make sure that you and your Family are present when life support or the ventilator will be removed!
- How can I be prepared, be mentally strong and be well positioned for a Family meeting with the Intensive Care team?(PART 1)
- THE 5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW IF THE MEDICAL TEAM IN INTENSIVE CARE WANTS TO “LIMIT TREATMENT”, WANTS TO “WITHDRAW TREATMENT” OR “WITHDRAW LIFE SUPPORT” OR WANTS TO ISSUE A “DNR” (DO NOT RESUSCITATE) OR AN “NFR” (NOT FOR RESUSCITATION) ORDER FOR YOUR CRITICALLY ILL LOVED ONE!
- PEACE OF MIND, CONTROL, POWER AND INFLUENCE EVEN IN THE MOST CHALLENGING OF CIRCUMSTANCES THAT YOU, YOUR FAMILY AND YOUR CRITICALLY ILL LOVED ONE COULD POSSIBLY FACE IN INTENSIVE CARE
Whatever you and your Family chose to do in this difficult and challenging situation, whether you do or you don’t want to be present during removal of life support, it’s your choice and after all, most importantly you want to have PEACE OF MIND, control, power and influence during this “ONCE IN A LIFE TIME” situation. So chose what you feel is the right thing for you personally!
Most importantly, don’t let the Intensive Care team pressure you to agree to something that you are not ready to as yet.
I have seen too many end of life situations in more than 15 years Intensive Care nursing in three different countries, where Families of critically ill Patients have been pushed into agreeing to removing or stopping life support, because the Intensive Care team was
- Needing the Intensive Care bed quickly for another Patient in need of Intensive Care admission
- Not wanting to use more of their resources and basically save money
- Not wanting to get too emotionally involved into the end of life situation
- Not wanting to deal with a “difficult” Family any longer where the Intensive Care team just couldn’t handle the pressure and the emotions of the Family any longer
- Finishing off doing some medical research on your critically ill loved one and now they are ready to let your loved one die
The bottom line is that you and your Family want to be in control, you want to have power, you want influence and after all you want to have PEACE OF MIND in this challenging and “ONCE IN A LIFE TIME” situation.
How to make sure that your needs are met in this “ONCE IN A LIFETIME” situation
If you and your Family need more time that you want to spend with your critically ill loved one before life support or the ventilator will be removed, because you are waiting for an important Family member or friend to be present, then you need to make that very clear to the Intensive Care team. If you and your Family member want to spend another day or night at the bedside with your critically ill loved one then you need to make that very clear to the Intensive Care team and you should accept nothing less than what you want.
If you want to have certain spiritual, cultural or religious needs met, you should be asking for that and you should accept nothing less than what you are asking for.
If you want to have your loved one pass away at home, despite their ventilation you should ask for it as certain services can provide such holistic care and services. Check out WWW.INTENSIVECAREATHOME.COM
If you think and feel that your critically ill loved one is unnecessarily suffering and you think that every minute of their life is a burden then you should make that very clear also!
- The difference between “real” and “perceived” end of life situations when your loved one is critically ill in Intensive Care!
The bottom line and the fact of the matter in this “ONCE IN A LIFETIME” situation is that you and your Family want to leave this situation with PEACE OF MIND, control, power and influence, because as heartbreaking as this situation is for you and for your Family you don’t want to overburden yourself and you don’t want to have any regrets, you don’t want to leave with a bitter taste in your mouth and think afterwards that the end of life situation could have been handled differently and better!
Also, don’t assume that because the Intensive Care team is dealing with end of life situations regularly that they know or understand what your wishes really are! Intensive Care is a high pressure environment and the Intensive Care team might hasten or “speed up” this end of life situation in a manner that you don’t feel comfortable with!
You and your Family need to live with the memories of this situation for the rest of your lives, so make sure your needs are met!
What to expect when it’s time to let go
After you and your Family have established what the end of life situation should look like so that you can have PEACE OF MIND, control, power and influence, then you can hopefully approach the situation with more comfort, confidence and then you can finally let go.
By the time life support or ventilation will be removed your critically ill loved one may respond in a number of ways that are hardly foreseeable or predictable.
If your critically ill loved one is
- Fully ventilator dependent and not on any medical support for a low blood pressure, once the breathing tube and the ventilator have been removed, your loved one can die within a few minutes or sometimes it can take a few days. The main difference tends to be how strong your critically ill loved one’s heart still beats
- If your critically ill loved one is ventilated, has a breathing tube and is on high inotropic support(intravenous medication for low blood pressure), then your critically ill loved one may pass away relatively quickly within minutes or a few hours after those life sustaining measures have been removed
Most importantly, in any of those situations, it is of utmost importance that your critically ill loved one is not suffering! This usually can be achieved by giving high doses of sedation and opiates and the drugs generally used during those end of life situations are Midazolam and Morphine. Generally speaking high doses means 10-15 mg/hr of each drug. Sometimes boluses of the drugs may be given as well!
I hope that helps and I hope that even though you and your Family are in a difficult, challenging and “ONCE IN A LIFETIME” situation that you can leave this situation with PEACE OF MIND, control, power and influence.
Always remember, you can’t change what happens to you, but you can change how you react to it!
Also, I hope no matter how difficult, challenging, heartbreaking and devastating this situation may appear to you, try and find some meaning and strength in this situation! Is there meaning after all? Does the death of your loved one serve some purpose? Whilst I can’t answer the question for you, I believe that if you keep looking for it, that you’ll find meaning, purpose and clarity!
How can you become the best advocate for your critically ill loved one, make informed decisions, get PEACE OF MIND, control, power and influence quickly, whilst your loved one is critically ill in Intensive Care?
You get to that all important feeling of making informed decisions, get PEACE OF MIND, CONTROL, POWER AND INFLUENCE when you download your FREE “INSTANT IMPACT” report NOW by entering your email below!
In Your FREE “INSTANT IMPACT” report you’ll learn quickly how to make informed decisions, get PEACE OF MIND, real power and real control and how you can influence decision making fast, whilst your loved one is critically ill in Intensive Care! Your FREE “INSTANT IMPACT” Report gives you in-depth insight that you must know whilst your loved one is critically ill or is even dying in Intensive Care! Sign up and download your FREE “INSTANT IMPACT” REPORT now by entering your email below!
In your FREE “INSTANT IMPACT” REPORT you’ll learn how to speak the “secret” Intensive Care language so that the doctors and the nurses know straight away that you are an insider and that you know and understand what’s really happening in Intensive Care!
In your FREE report you’ll also discover
- How to ask the doctors and the nurses the right questions
- Discover the many competing interests in Intensive Care and how your critically ill loved one’s treatment may depend on those competing interests
- How to eliminate fear, frustration, stress, struggle and vulnerability even if your loved one is dying
- 5 mind blowing tips& strategies helping you to get on the right path to making informed decisions, get PEACE OF MIND, control, power and influence in your situation
- You’ll get real world examples that you can easily adapt to your and your critically ill loved one’s situation
- How to stop being intimidated by the Intensive Care team and how you will be seen as equals
- You’ll get crucial ‘behind the scenes’ insight so that you know and understand what is really happening in Intensive Care
- How you need to manage doctors and nurses in Intensive Care(it’s not what you think)
Thank you for tuning into this week’s BLOG and I’ll see you again in another update next week!
Or you can call us! Find phone numbers on our contact tab.
Also check out our Ebook section where you get more Ebooks, Videos and Audio recordings and where you can also get 1:1 counselling with me via Skype or over the phone and via email by clicking on the email and phone counselling tabs on the top of the website!
This is Patrik Hutzel from INTENSIVECAREHOTLINE.COM and I’ll see you again next week with another update!