Hospice – Page 3

Please Don’t Wear Your Hospice Nametags

It feels odd when the hospice staff is asked to NOT wear nametags on home visits.

A spouse or grandparent nears death, but the family doesn’t want the person to know she or he is dying. And so, a scheme unfolds. Perhaps telltale mail is hidden or discarded. If there are any family conversations about dying or death—or other “bad” words—incomplete sentences become the norm if the “wrong” person enters the room. Friends join the hush-hush efforts, though the more talkative or gossipy ones may be left out of any “information loop.”

Often a doctor that’s concluded there’s no longer the possibility of a cure joins the conspiracy. Whether it’s the inevitable health complications of aging or an opportunistic, grim cancer, the physicians and nurses that were tending to the person’s needs remain silent about the prognosis. (Or at least, silent enough.)

And so, when a hospice admitting nurse knocks on the front door (because the person’s physician has formally requested hospice) and a family member opens the door (he or she has likely been peering through windows, anxiously awaiting the visit), the nurse is first greeted with . . . Read More →

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Hospice SOBs

Some hospice patients have MOM charted for one of their prescribed medications.

Hey, who wouldn’t want a mother’s love when entering into hospice care? Mom knows best, right? But wait! MOM is one of hospice’s (and health care’s) endless acronyms, an abbreviation for the familiar Milk of Magnesia.

Then there’s SOB, which I’ve written about before . . . but every time I see it as a concern for a patient, I’m still taken aback.

The acronym means Short Of Breath rather than the curse, “You son of a _ _ _ _ _!” Read More →

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

When Loved Ones Die Alone

Please, I don’t want to face death alone.

I’d prefer to take a last breath in my home.

I long to die peacefully; in my sleep.

Not a burden; nor someone hard to keep.

Let me say the goodbyes,

Then close my eyes.

And . . . die.

Amen.

What would be your prayer?

What would be your hope?

What would be your plan? Or lack of plans, because some fickle or faithful part of nearly all of us are wishful thinkers, people that dread the hard conversations or avoid the unsettling subjects or put off until tomorrow—even the next decade—any conversation about the solemn, scary subject of . . .

Dying.

My death.

My parents wanted to grow old and die at home. The mortgage was paid. The landscaping well-tended and mature. The rooms held memories. There was cozy furniture and well-lighted spaces.

They did not die at home. Read More →

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather