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Pulmonary Fibrosis

IPF End Stage?

11/23/2010

Question:

My 70 y/o mother has been on hospice care for about 2 months. She starting falling a few months ago which is why she moved in with my R/N sister. Her temp in the last 2 weeks has been around 92 and my sister said she shakes alot and now she doesn`t want to eat and only wants to sleep. Her fingernails are also blueish in color. Only med she takes is an antidepressant. She is on oxygen 24/7. What should we expect next? Thank you.

Answer:

As a person with end-stage pulmonary fibrosis worsens, there can be many different symptoms. Trouble with balance and falling, memory problems or confusion, limited activity levels and increasing time asleep can all be related worsening of the pulmonary fibrosis leading to low oxygen levels, high carbon dioxide levels and affecting other organs such as the brain and heart. The hospice care staff will help her and your family with management of these symptoms and ensure that she is kept comfortable. This can include using oxygen, medications to help with the shortness of breath and cough as well as any pain that she may be having.

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Response by:

Nitin Y Bhatt, MD Nitin Y Bhatt, MD
Clinical Assisstant Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University