hospice

Discussion in 'Coping and Compassion' started by Deesknee, Oct 12, 2011.

  1. Deesknee

    Deesknee <font color=blue>When we were kids (long time ago)

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    Hi Everyone, I have been approached from my Mom's nursing home that they would like to have hospice come in for my Mom. It is my understanding (from working for ins. company) that hospice is usually called in when life expectancy is 6mnths or less. I just don't understand how hospice can additionally help other than what the nursing home itself is doing. Plus they gave me a few names to choose from. How do you chose that? References? Seems a bit horrible to ask someone who has recently lost someone they loved how their experience with hospice was. We have already agreed to allowing them to see my Mom. The nurse said it wouldn't be 24/7, but it would be frequent. I assume the will keep her company, help feed her.
    So, my question is..... what can you tell me about hospice? your personal, or professional experience with one. My brother and I are meeting with one tomorrow, but honestly I don't even know what kind of questions we should ask. Or will we just be informed of how it works.
    My Mom has COPD, and some dementia.
     
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  3. minkydog

    minkydog DIS Cast Member

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    My dad died of mesothelioma, the asbestos lung cancer. He lived in the hospital for the last 34 days of his life. During that time, the hospital wanted to call in hospice. Really? :confused3 He's in THE HOSPITAL. I didn't see how calling in hospice was going to help anything. And there's where I was wrong. The nurses in the hospital were busy helping all their patients, not just my dad. They were in the business of saving lives, not helping people die with dignity. Not that nurses avoid doing that--it's just that they are so overworked, they really don't have time to give one individual constant palliative care. The hospice nurse came in as an adjunct to the floor nurse. She helped us(the family) understand what was happening and how we would know when the end was nigh. I've been a nurse for 34 years, but my field is peds. I have helped children die and I've helped parents through it, but I have limited experience with adults dying a long, protracted death from cancer. The hospice nurse knew what questions to ask and she was a welcome liason between us and the medical staff. She knew how to get the right pain med, and get it in the right amount!:thumbsup2 Our hospice nurse didn't do much hands-on care because we were there and the hospital nurses, of course were there. She really helped us to feel our feelings and understand the emotions that were coming up. That woman was pretty amazing. In fact, if I were to ever leave pediatrics i would love to go into hospice nursing.
     
  4. Deesknee

    Deesknee <font color=blue>When we were kids (long time ago)

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    thank you minkydog. I guess I will just listen tomorrow and if a question arises in me, I will ask. I don't know if my Mom realizes she is dying. I hate the word hospice. Just the word. I know they do amazing things.
     
  5. mommasita

    mommasita DIS VETERAN Moderator

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    :hug: to you and your family.

    I think Minkydog gave such a great explanation.
     
  6. Deesknee

    Deesknee <font color=blue>When we were kids (long time ago)

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    thank you.
     
  7. quasar4legs

    quasar4legs DIS Veteran

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    I am sorry you are having to make such difficult decisions.:hug:

    I think that any service that enabled your mum to have some extra one-on-one time would be a blessing.
    In my experience nursing home staff are so busy trying to keep up with the day to day needs that it might be helpful to have someone that is dedicated just to your mum.

    The hospice staff that looked after my dad when he was dying were wonderful and they were able to provide comfort to our family. I cannot imagine how much harder things would have been for us all without their assistance.

    Thinking of you and your dear mum:hug:
     
  8. Deesknee

    Deesknee <font color=blue>When we were kids (long time ago)

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    thank you all. My brother will be here shortly. We will then head over to the nursing home to meet with the hospice people. It is just so hard to believe she is this close to the end. It seems she had been so sick for so long, then she seemed to be doing so much better, now within a 4-6week period she has gone from us thinking maybe she could get out of the nursing home into asst. living, to going on hospice. Although, the thought of removing her from the nursing home was truly not an option. And we did know that down deep. But it has been a fast decline in the past few weeks.
    I am not sure how well we will do with accepting "comfort" from strangers. But as long as my Mom is as comfortable as possible, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, that is ALL that matters.
    Thank you all for your well wishes, help and/or prayers.
    Dee

    ps... I really wish the rain here would stop and the sun would shine.
     
  9. quasar4legs

    quasar4legs DIS Veteran

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    Glad you have your brother to help make the decision, let us know how it all goes.:hug::hug:
     
  10. Deesknee

    Deesknee <font color=blue>When we were kids (long time ago)

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    :) I have THE best brother in the world. I actually have 2 living brothers, but 1 is rather....how shall I say.... hands off. The other one and I are left to visit & make decisions.

    We met with hospice today. She was very nice and explained things, although it was rather overwhelming. We signed papers. My brother was a bit nervous of financial issues, as well as the obvious concerns for our Mom. He asked alot of questions where I was just signing. I'm so grateful he was thinking a little clearer than I. Funny the woman kept addressing everything to me, I would turn and wait for my brothers view. I felt she was addressing him & I became a little offended by this. She finally referred to him as my husband. LOL Everyone does that. I don't know why. We laughed and joked when she left the room that we don't get along this well with our spouses. (although we actually both have very wonderful spouses & appreciate them both very much). So, hospice is going to be visiting with my Mom 5 days a week. The three of us, myself, DB & hospice lady went to see my Mom after the details were signed, etc. Mom has stopped eating. She only ate 1/2 of the filling of a slice of pumpkin pie, 1 tiny baby carrot and some water for lunch. The said she ate 1 bite of egg for bkfast and nothing else. She was in good spirits for the most part. She was able to converse a little which is better than she was yesterday or the day before. So... we shall see.
    But thank you all!! :hug:
    Dee
     
  11. momto2js

    momto2js DIS Veteran

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    Often, a hospice become a one-stop shop for the nursing home. The hospice nurses have extensive experience with pain control and symptom management. It may be that working with hospice will allow the nursing home to keep her in house when problems arrise that would otherwise have her sent to the hospital.

    We used hospice services for my dad at our house. I would ask about the services offered. Do they have alternate pain management services, how about chaplins and social workers. On the pain control front, do they use IV pain meds?? I would look for an agency that does. Otherwise, you are limited to supositories and that is no fun for anyone. For my dad, we had a PICC line that we used at home for pain meds and fluids post bone marrow transplant but the hospice we used didn't use IV meds in a home setting. We now know other agencies do use them.

    How about grief services for the family both before and after your mother passes. Some are for profit and some are non-profits, I would check the local licencing agency and also the BBB. Ask the nursing director of the nursing home if there is and agency they have worked with in the past.

    I'm sorry to hear that your mother is not doing well. I do hope that she is able to be as well as possible for as long as possible.
     
  12. Deesknee

    Deesknee <font color=blue>When we were kids (long time ago)

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    Thank you for all the tips. We signed on for hospice yesterday and they addressed most of the issues you have here. I am going to ask about IV meds. As that was not discussed.
     
  13. quasar4legs

    quasar4legs DIS Veteran

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    Sorry I missed this post earlier:flower3:

    I am glad the interview with the hospice worker went well and I do hope that this extra attention will give your mum some additional support and comfort.

    Holding your family close to my heart as you deal with these difficulties:grouphug:
     
  14. Deesknee

    Deesknee <font color=blue>When we were kids (long time ago)

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    My Mom is on morphine now, and some meds for her anxiety. As well as the usuals for COPD and dementia.
    The hospice have been in to see her. One day they painted her nails. :goodvibes She used to be a manicurist so this very much pleased her. I seem to always forget the nail polish when I go to see her. My DB and I have mentioned we do not want them using the word hospice, but it seems we can't keep up with the nurses/aids to tell them they keep using that word. She hasn't questioned it yet. But mentally she has moments when she is very clear, so I am waiting for her to question it. So far, we are happy with hospice. Thank you to everyone for the information as well as the well wishes and prayers.

    Dee
     
  15. quasar4legs

    quasar4legs DIS Veteran

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    Hi Dee,
    I am glad things are working out with the hospice service and what a lovely idea for them to paint your mum's nails, we all need a little pampering now and then.
    Thanks for the update, thinking of you and your dear mother.

    :grouphug: Quasar
     
  16. Deesknee

    Deesknee <font color=blue>When we were kids (long time ago)

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    Thank you to everyone. My Mom passed away last night. My brother, DSIL, and nephew were all there. I am blessed. I was able to tell her everything I needed to, and to hold her hand as she left this world. I know I will miss her immeasurably. But will think of her with warm memories on a daily basis. I had the pleasure of meeting the chaplin from the hospice organization, although only for a few moments. His embrace was warm and sincere, and meant a great deal. I am told the nurses contacted Hospice to ask if they should call us, and were advised to. Between DH, DB, and myself my mother was not left alone at all for 17 1/2 hours prior to her passing. The last hours of her life were filled with love, compassion, comfort, and conversation of all the wonderful ways she touched peoples hearts. As well as the difficult conversation of telling her we would be okay when she was not on this earth.
    Thank you all for the support and wisdom, you provided during this difficult time in my life.
    Dee
     
  17. mommasita

    mommasita DIS VETERAN Moderator

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    Dee, I'm sorry for your loss, but it is one of the most touching tributes I have ever read.:hug:

    Your Mother was absolutely incredible, and you are a testament to that.
     
  18. Deesknee

    Deesknee <font color=blue>When we were kids (long time ago)

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    thank you.
     
  19. wuv tigger

    wuv tigger <font color=red>I just want us to all be well<br><

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    in the coming weeks.

    So glad to hear she has a peaceful passing.

    blessings to you, your dear brother and extended families
     
  20. quasar4legs

    quasar4legs DIS Veteran

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    I am so sorry Dee:hug:
    What a blessing for your mum to be surrounded by such a loving family during her final hours.
    I am thinking of you and your extended family during this sad time:grouphug:

    Quasar
     
  21. harrismargaret9

    harrismargaret9 Earning My Ears

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    I am sorry for your loss Dee . Your mother was fortunate having her loved ones around at the last moment of life. You & your family will be in my prayers! God bless!
     

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