Suicide Residents

  1. How do you deal with a resident that is trying to commit suicide and then a family member decides to go ahead and let them die because they know that the resident is trying to do that anyway. It is so hard seeing the resident suffer like that knowing i cant help them in any way what so ever. What to do and how should I feel???
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  2. 5 Comments

  3. by   joyflnoyz
    What do you mean by "commit suicide"? If you mean they want to die, have accepted this is the end of their life and want to die on their terms,
    then you support the decision that is his/hers to make. Keep them comfortable. Offer food and fluids, but don't force. Spend time with your resident. Hospice is a good option, though it is much better when Hospice becomes involved earlier..a couple of days before death doesn't help family or patients much. Earlier, and there is a LOT of support for everyone...nurses, aides, social worker, chaplain. For my dad <in home hospice care> they even sent a housekeeper!

    Keeping someone alive is often more cruel and causes more suffering than letting "nature take its course"
  4. by   txspadequeenRN
    If you are talking about a patient that really wants to take their own life by hanging themselves in their room or cutiing their wrist they need to be refered to Social Services and quick. You dont just stand by and say OK.. "well if you really want to die, here is the rope". However, there is a difference in making arrangments to take your own life and stating you are ready to die (in a hospice situation or not even hospice but you are just ready for it to be over). Does this make sense; it is 3 am and I am tired?
  5. by   joyflnoyz
    Well, it *WAS* 3 AM...

    I made the assumption that because the OP posted in LTC/Geriatric forum, OP was talking about residents who feel they have lived their lives and are ready to let go and see what's next.
    We recently had a gentleman who had lived life to the fullest. Never been
    ill, traveled the world and loved life. At this point he'd had a couple of health problems, and decided he did not want to live as an old man in a nursing facility.
    He decided he was ready to die, stopped eating, stopped getting out of bed,
    refused therapy on admission to our medicare unit. I believe "failure to thrive" was the admitting diagnosis for hospice. Closer to the end, when we were talking, I mentioned we could keep him comfortable with roxanol.
    His response? "No, I want to experience it"

    I guess it could be said he "committed suicide", but he lived life on his terms and with gusto, and he was going to die on his terms.

    I believe that many people get to the point where they just don't want to live anymore, and "commit suicide" by not eating, not drinking etc. We do not have the right to insist or force anyone to eat or drink, let alone live.
    We need to support and care for these persons, whom<?> in my case, are often the "eldest of the elderly" and have in many cases outlived most of their families...
  6. by   Antikigirl
    Depends on the situation, if a person declares that they wish to commmit suicide, by law I must report it to their MD, or in the case of quick action by the person..the police. I have sadly had to do this a few times.

    If it is someone that has given up...I get hospice involved ASAP. That not only helps the patient, but the family, and yes...even us Healthcare providers to help deal with the pain of it all! It will also wake up a family or patient that are going through a temp situation by bringing the end of life issues at full face value! I have had a few people change their minds and choose to go forward with life as long as possible after speaking to these loving hospice nurses!
  7. by   melinda.gray
    I hold a strong convection for quality vs quantity of life. I work in LTC, I have seen a few patients give up and lose their will to live and subsequently die. I have seen others struggle to the end. It is hard to watch knowing you can do nothing, I strongly believe in "being there" for them, supporting their wishes, and making them as comfortable as I can, that is the most important thing I can do. Regardless of how I feel about their decision it is their decision, and I respect it.

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