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“Failure to Thrive”- What IS That?

Judie Rappaport
May 28, 2015

Dear Judie:

Mom’s (91) been failing for over a month. When I asked her doctor what’s causing her decline, he said, “Failure to Thrive.” When I asked what caused the Failure to Thrive, he said “It’s normal, it happens to old people all the time. Their bodies wear out and they just give up.  Call Hospice.”  His answer was just as cold as it sounds – he never even called her by name. I’m lost. Help.

- Sandy,  PSL


Dear Sandy:

Failure to Thrive is a not an illness; it’s a catch-all diagnosis for underlying, undiagnosed physical or emotional conditions that cause people to fail physically. Wellness is normal, illness is abnormal. Hospice may be an option, however Mom’s physician didn’t give you enough information to understand Mom’s condition or plan for her care. First, ask Mom’s doctor what physical or emotional problems he discovered that contributed to Mom’s diagnosis of Failure to Thrive. Next, ask what steps he took to help Mom recover. If you’re not satisfied with the doctor’s answers, ask for Mom’s medical records and take them to a board certified geriatric physician for a second opinion.



Judie Rappaport, President & Founder
Preferred Lifestyle Services

Trust Yourself. You Have the Knowledge, Insight,
and Power to make the right decisions for you and your parent. ©



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