Family goes to court to stop spoon-feeding of elderly mother in nursing home

82 year old Margot Bentley is living in a nursing home in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada, administered by the Maplewood Seniors Care Society, Fraser Health Authority and the government of British Columbia.  She has Alzheimer’s disease and is being spoon-fed because she can still swallow.  She is not force-fed if she does not open her mouth.  Her family has launched a civil suit to compel the nursing home to stop feeding her, citing her “living will” signed in 1991, about ten years before she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  The document states that she did not want “nourishment or liquids” if she is suffering from an incurable disease.  The defendant nursing home has filed another “living will” that states that she would accept “basic care.”  The authenticity of the document is disputed by the family.  The nursing home argues that spoon-feeding is basic care, not “medical” care or treatment, and is legally obligatory.  The family insists that spoon-feeding must be discontinued, since patients are entitled to refuse medical treatment or care, and Margot Bentley had stated that refusal in her “living will.”   [Vancouver Sun]


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