Archive for Bedbound

In Hospice: To Bed or Not To Bed?

hospital beds

The rational reasons for using a hospital bed make a long, persuasive list. But you don’t care . . .

Who would want one?

Does anyone really like ‘em?

They have cranks and levers, wobbly wheels, and are cumbersome to move or adjust. Newer models are often complex, with silent electric motors, links for computer cables, and (though pricey) lightweight metal alloy frames.

But who seeks to be horizontal in a hospital bed of any kind? Not for overnight, and certainly not for the remainder of your life. Whenever the hospice clinical staff discusses current patients, it’s nearly inevitable that at least one patient has recently balked at shifting to a hospital bed. I view the hospital bed as one of the intimidating symbols of hospice care. Of course, it’s more than a symbol once it arrives at your home.

Wouldn’t you refuse?

We like love our bed in our bedroom. It’s a sanctuary. Don’t all the health care experts tout the value of a good night’s sleep? Whether retired, in a part-time job, or with a stressful career (along with raising kids, volunteering, and don’t forget yard and house work), doesn’t everyone desire to sleep every day? Do the personal math: we’re on a mattress more than we eat, work, play, exercise, procrastinate, shovel snow, mow a lawn, or take a vacation. Hey, for some, a little sleep is as close as they’ll get to a vacation for long stretches of time. Work is demanding. Families are demanding. At least let me escape into my cozy bed! Read More →

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bedBOUND

Twice a day, on a normal day, I’m bed bound.

For longer than I care to admit, it’s bedtime when ten o’clock rolls around. I rise early in the morning to write and am not a night owl. Even on New Years, I’m a Californian who’d rather celebrate the next day and year based on my wife’s home state:  Wisconsin. Those wonderful Cheeseheads are in Central Time Zone, two hours ahead of Pacific Time!

My pre-dawn rising—usually by 4:00am—prompts a need for a nap. Please, let me grab forty winks for a mid-day siesta. At one church I served, I tucked a folding futon in the office’s corner. Around noon, I’d tell the staff not to disturb me unless there was an emergency. The staff and church members (mostly) understood. Ministers are on-call twenty-four hours a day, schedule meetings in the evening and Sunday (with all due respect to God’s 6-day creation package) is not a day of rest! The healthy, though odd, habits of a lifetime bind me to bed. (I’ll also, in a pinch, claim a floor, futon, sofa or recliner!)

The dreaded hospital bed...

The dreaded hospital bed…

However . . . when a hospice nurse announces the once active Ms. or Mr. Smith is bedbound, the others on the hospice team immediately understand she or he is declining.

Can they remain in their own bed? The answer’s often a Yes. But the bed is no longer for temporary rest; it’s a permanent residence. The answer may also be No. And whether crabby or compliant, patients fear abandoning their comfy king-size for a skinny bed with rails. It doesn’t matter if a hospital bed can be lowered and is safer to get on/off the mattress, or that caregivers can more easily respond to the loved one’s needs. It’s not YOUR bed. And doesn’t it symbolize giving up and giving in? Read More →

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