This blog was formerly dedicated in 2009 to my Dad who died of Alzheimer's in 2013. It's been three years now...and I find myself missing I am re-inventing my blog... because, after all, life is about moving through, and going forward...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Considering Hospice...

I just finished sending an email to my family about my conversation with the hospice expert Dad's physician referred me to.  I can only imagine how he would be in person, because just over the phone he made me feel all warm and fuzzy.  What a wonderful man!  This is his calling.  He told me God put him on this earth to be a servant.  He took care of his Grandfather who had Alzheimer's.

He spent a long time listening to me talk about Dad, to give him a sense of who Dad is...he asked about my Mom too.

He told me although many people are admitted to hospice because there is a strong possibility the patient may die within a six month period, many last as long as 18 months to 2 years, or longer and several even come off hospice entirely because the patient is doing so well. This has been his experience.

Hospice is all about dignity, support and comfort for the patient. The hospice team would work along side the nursing home staff or come to a person's home, so Dad benefits from having more attention, care and additional advocates.

I can speak from personal experience having used hospice for my mother in law seven years ago when she died from Alzheimer's.  At that time, both my husband and myself were under the misconception hospice meant impending death within 6 months.

I cannot imagine going through a serious illness with a family member and NOT having hospice because they feel like an extension of our family.  Our only regret with my mother in law was,  not calling hospice sooner.

He told me it was an honor to work with Dad's physician and his wife and told me how much he cares and fights for his patients.  The hospice expert told me a Chaplain would visit Dad once a week or as often as Dad wanted him; a Social worker will come visit Dad within 72 hours of Dad being admitted to the hospice program; a volunteer will come once a week; a RN will come every other week; a CNA will come 2-3 times a week; a LVN will come once a week, in addition to all the care the nursing home and staff already provide for Dad.

He told me we could discuss Dad's medications and determine which ones to leave him on.  He said Medicare would pay for some and Hospice would cover some.  It all depends on what we want for Dad and most importantly, keeping him pain free and comfortable without any undo stress.  I was impressed with the notes he took and repeated back to me.

So my family and I will discuss it and hopefully, they will join my mother and I and agree to call Hospice for Dad.

Our Marine reported back for combat training, after ten days liberty following his Boot Camp graduation.  We expect him to fly to Virginia upon completion of his month long combat training during August.

I am still waiting for clarification from Dad's physician.  I need to hear him say Dad needs amputation due to the antibiotics, Cryotherapy not working, mainly to Dad's nonexistent pulse in his lower legs....specifically his left leg.  Waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop, I have been on pins and needles and feel constantly on the verge of tears...

Today I go into the surgeon's office to have him attempt to aspirate the hitch hiking lump on my right elbow to determine if it is a benign ganglion cyst or sebaceous fatty cyst.  I hope I can get some answers so I can put it behind me.

Thank you everyone so much for your never ending support, concern and prayers.  You are the BEST!


Mari said...

I've worked with Hospice frequently in my job and I think they are all special people! They have a calling to do what they do. We have had people goo on and off Hospice as he mentioned.
I would want Hospice involved if any of my loved ones were in that position. They offer so many extras and are so helpful.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sounds like God put an angel in your life for your father.

Stafford Ray said...

I just read through the last three posts on this blog and was led to remember the last months of my mother's life. She was not expecting to improve any more and was tired of having to put in the effort to push so hard against her illness.
After two years of working to regain some control of her body, much of it paralysed following a stroke, she just wanted it to be over.
But she lingered on for another year until finally pneumonia gave her a way out. She knew she would die from it and gave instructions she was not to be revived.

I sometimes wonder what is worse; being in dementia and not knowing what is happening or being fully aware and rational, but trapped in a useless body!

For you and yours, the watchers, it is a very sad place to be. My heart goes out to you.

Linda O'Connell said...

Hopsice workers are angels. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

betty said...

I think hospice offers such great services and care; I often wish hubby's mother had been put on hospice but after I suggested it once I had no say in it all,but I think it would have made her final days so much more peaceful. I think having their support at this stage of your dad's life could be a good thing, Donna. continuing to pray for you


Wander to the Wayside said...

Thanks to hospice working hand in hand with the nursing home, I was able to just go with the flow during my dad's last few weeks, concerned with nothing more than sitting by his side and seeing that he had a loving voice in his ear. I hope your family can all agree that this is the best choice for all of you at this particular time.

Kim@stuffcould.... said...

My Dad is in Hospice now...I was glad to read your info about Hospice. Dad is getting confused now...thinks he is not 'at home' but he is
Hope your elbow is fine