Liver failure : My partner is an... - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust

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Liver failure


My partner is an alcoholic and the years have finally caught up with him. He has a damaged liver and caught Hep E a few months ago, he has spent 2 months in hospital, but he has been discharged they can't do anymore. He is very yellow and breathless, cold, sleeping all the time,the latest is confusion. I am having time off work to look after him, I cannot leave him because I caught him trying to empty his stoma bag in the kitchen sink and he will not take his tablets or eat. Has anyone been through this. Can you tell me how long this stage lasts, I know this is the end of his life , but if I knew what to expect I would feel better.

10 Replies

If he is genuinely not eating anything then perhaps about a month? It will depend on his reserves. People can survive a surprising time without food but not if they are already malnourished.

The confusion can get from the malnourishment, or it's the overload of amonia going to his brain.

I'm so very sorry. This must be terrible for you to watch. I would guess it will not be too much longer. Did he have any last wishes?

My partner and I have discussed everything. I gave him a list. So, he knows what to do,what not to do, and what not to try and do.

Do you have any other help? If so, try and get some 'me' time in. Caring for a loved one during the end of life process can be super stressful, and it's easy to forget to take care of yourself. A long hot bath, a good meal, a favorite book, a good cry...whatever you need to give something back to you.

Thinking a good thought, and hoping that you find the peace you need while your partner finds his own safe passage home.



dhazel in reply to dckimberly

His doctor came yesterday, discussed where he wants to die, at home he said & whether he wants to be resuscitated, which would be a pointless exercise.

thank you for advise x



this is a very concerning and upsetting time - I would advise that you call your partner's consultant and discuss the deterioration and ask for support from a specialist palliative care team who should be able to visit you at home and give appropriate support and advice. Also ask the consultant if they would consider any treatment specifically for the confusion (hepatic encephalopathy - HE). If you ring the hospital and ask to speak to your consultant's secretary they can then arrange for the consultant or someone from the clinical team to call you back

more info on HE is available on our website

also our information line staff would be happy to discuss this with you 01425 481320

Unfortunately a lot of people do have HE as their liver disease progresses and I'm sure there will be more practical advice and support on here from others

it is inevitably a tiring and worrying time for you please make sure you look after yourself and get the support you need as well as looking after your partner

very best wishes


dhazel in reply to Hidden

Thanks for your feedback, unfortunately the hospital does not want to know, but our doctor is keeping an eye on him. I was visited by the occupational nurses yesterday , they are putting in grab rails around the house for him.

discussion about place of death has taken place.

Just got to keep positive x

dhazel in reply to Hidden

The HE is getting worse by the day, I will call the helpline, really struggling with it now. Thanks for the advice.

My thoughts are with you, I am going through the same symptoms with my brother it is a difficult time. The only way I cope is like previously said having a bit of me time which is hard but even a wee 30 mins is good. The doctors can't give any time scales but they are always their if you need. Thoughts and prayers with you and your family

Update on my partner, he fought to the end , he died at home with me by his side on the 11th November 2015. All very sad just have to learn to live without him :(

Bolly in reply to dhazel

Sorry for your loss. Look after yourself. Hugs ((0))

Sorry for your loss dhazel. I hope you can move on gradually and keep looking after yourself.

Love and best wishes, Katie xx

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