Archive for Dying – Page 2

Hope is a Hospice Thing

Shawshank

“Hope is a dangerous thing . . .”

My obvious hope on this website is to inform people about hospice.

I speak personally. A hospice cared for Dad. My mother, though never a hospice patient, received feedback from a hospice nurse that proved crucial to my family’s decisions. (We also “rejected” another hospice because their admitting nurse was—being polite—a poor listener.)

I speak professionally from my past. On numerous occasions, visiting hospice patients as their chaplain or pastor, I witnessed the importance of quiet time with loved ones in the final days. As hard as it was to admit, one more round of chemotherapy or another frantic trip to the emergency room would only put off the inevitable for a brief, painful time. Wasn’t it better to remain home?

I speak professionally from my present position in bereavement support. On numerous occasions, grievers have shared with me how helping a dying spouse—or other beloved family and friends—represented a way to honor that relationship. They learned about their unexpected strength and compassion as they focused on being a caregiver.

I also try to speak realistically about hospice and mortality. Modern medication, fervent prayers, high-tech treatments, and the skilled hands of a surgeon may lead to remission or even complete cures . . .

But do you think your ill friend or family member is somehow immortal?

Do you think you are? Read More →

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Hospice and the Unknown

UnknownOn the weekly list of hospice patients and their myriad illnesses, one disease seemed to glare back at me: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

What was it? I’d never heard or read about this illness.

Later, I found this description from the Cleveland Clinic’s website:

In IPF, lung tissue becomes scarred and changes the lung’s ability to function normally. The scarring typically starts at the edges of the lungs and advances towards the center of the lungs. Typically, mild scarring occurs first, but over months to years, the normal lung tissue is replaced by more heavily scarred lung tissue, which makes it difficult to breathe and deliver needed oxygen to the body. Unfortunately, IPF is a disabling disease without a known cure and with few treatment options. The cause of IPF is unknown . . . [Italics added by me.]

After reading, I took a deep breath.

Lungs!

Air!

Life! Read More →

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Hospice May Confront Our Habits

habit sign

Please ignore what I’m about to tell you regarding handling a hospice patient in the final hours or days of their life.

Hmmm?

Let me rephrase that first sentence: don’t assume I’m correct when wondering if turning a patient in hospice care every two hours near her or his last breath is necessary.

Hmmm?

One of the nurses at our weekly hospice team meetings—where the staff gathers to review each patient’s condition and needs—mentioned she’d read an article questioning the value of turning a patient near the end of life. She wasn’t recommending a change of policy for our treatment of dying patients, or suggesting that some patients be used as “experiments” to see how turning versus not turning impacts their well-being. Mostly, she seemed to be asking about how to improve the quality of life for families and their loved ones as they face the final days. Read More →

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