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 Any experience with ECT? 
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Joined: Sun Jun 23, 2013 12:09 pm
Posts: 5
Post Any experience with ECT?
Hi, all! I'm new here. My 82 year old father-in-law has been afflicted with Lewy Body Dementia for quite a few years. Half of the time, he is very aggressive and has spontaneous outbursts of aggression. The rest of the time, he's very sweet, singing, or sleepy. He is still very strong and healthy physically, and he can be very dangerous. He is also incontinent, he hallucinates, breaks things, and tries to get out of the house. He talks sporadically and it's very hard to understand what he's saying because words and nonwords are disjointed. He is also falling a lot, and it's getting harder and harder for him to walk. My mother-in-law kept him home much longer than she was advised to. She is 81, diabetic,doesn't drive, and has a lot of her own health problems. Of course, we were are all involved in helping as much as possible.

Last month, he was placed in a nursing home in the dementia wing. They keep sending him to the hospital because they can't handle him. He pushes other occupants down, takes their walkers from them, and is generally very disagreeable about personal hygiene care. He has received excellent medical care all along, and, according to his team of doctors, he has been given as many different types of meds and dosages as possible. They don't know what to do next for him. As is, he is dangerous to himself and to anyone around him. He is currently in the hospital, restrained.

He has also shown signs of depression, crying and sadness, like anyone else, but most of the time he can't express it the way you or I would. The docs feel his depression is being expressed by his agitation and various violent behaviors. They have suggested ECT(electroconvulsive therapy) for him, in the hopes that it will help to curb his depression. If it works, they are hoping to lower some of his meds, which will make him a bit steadier on his feet.

Opinions, anyone?

He has no place to go. He can't be at home, the nursing home can't handle him, and the hospital can't keep him. Any thoughts?

Sun Jun 23, 2013 2:01 pm

Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3441
Location: Vermont
Post Re: Any experience with ECT?
This is a really, really tough one. I have personally known a few people whose symptoms are like this and it was very difficult.
First, I'd ask for a list of every med and dosage they have tried so far. I'd research meds on this forum - what has and hasn't worked for various people and compare the 2 lists. If there are meds that haven't been tried, perhaps you can ask the drs. about trying those meds (go slowly with the dosage!).

Unfortunately, the folks whom I've known whose symptoms could not be controlled any other way, were heavily sedated after all else failed. Hopefully, there will be something that hasn't been tried for your FIL that may work for him so he doesn't have to be heavily sedated. Keep us posted if they do find something that works for him. His experience may be of help to someone else on here. Good luck, and hang in there. It's very, very hard to see your LO in this position. Lynn

Lynn, daughter of 89 year old dad dx with possiblity of LBD, CBD, PSP, FTD, ALS, Vascular Dementia, AD, etc., died Nov. 30, 2010 after living in ALF for 18 months.

Sun Jun 23, 2013 3:03 pm

Joined: Sun Jun 23, 2013 12:09 pm
Posts: 5
Post Re: Any experience with ECT?
He has been on sooo many different meds, I think it would be too taxing to have my MIL look it up. It looks like he will be starting ECT tomorrow. His schedule will be 3 x's a week for 6-12 treatments, and we'll see how it goes. I will definitely keep you all posted on his results.

Sun Jun 23, 2013 4:22 pm

Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:46 pm
Posts: 610
Post Re: Any experience with ECT?
I don't know about ECT but as far as trying to get the meds sorted, I am told by my mother's doctor that one strategy in such situations is to send the LO to a geriatric psychiatric hospital for long enough that they can figure out the meds that work the best. Meanwhile, apparently such facilities are able to handle patients with these issues.

Good luck, I know how difficult all of this is.


Sun Jun 23, 2013 4:51 pm

Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:46 pm
Posts: 3213
Location: WA
Post Re: Any experience with ECT?
My grandfather, who did not have dementia but suffered from depression, was greatly helped by ECT treatments. IMHO, it would be worth a try under the circumstances. Have they used Seroquel? It was the only drug that curbed--or helped to curb--my husband's combative behavior.

Pat [68] married to Derek [84] for 38 years; husband dx PDD/LBD 2005, probably began 2002 or earlier; late stage and in a SNF as of January 2011. Hospitalized 11/2/2013 and discharged to home Hospice. Passed away at home on 11/9/2013.

Sun Jun 23, 2013 5:24 pm

Joined: Sun Jun 23, 2013 12:09 pm
Posts: 5
Post Re: Any experience with ECT?
He has recently been on Seroquel, and it made his balance much worse with little to no benefit. He was in the hospital for evaluation for about a month, and they were trying to fine tune his meds. That's when he started on the Seroquel. He was released back to the nursing home. Three hours later, he was sent back to the hospital. He had fallen 9 times in that short period, once taking down a nurse with him.

Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:16 pm

Joined: Sat May 25, 2013 3:53 pm
Posts: 330
Post Re: Any experience with ECT?
Welcome to the Forum! Your family definitely has a challenge coping with all your father-in-law's behaviours! Hopefully you can continue to share and get feedback here as so many people have experience with the outcomes of the different meds and treatments. Seroquel was what worked the best with my Mom but changing meds was always a very slow process. It took a while to see the results. Good luck and let us know how the treatment goes.

Gail, Forum Moderator & daughter of Doris who passed away Dec. 2010 after living with LBD for 7 years.

Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:46 am
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