Archive for Rest

Wanted: A Hospice Time Cop

I’ve had to literally wade through a crowd that felt more like New York’s Times Square . . .

I’ve had to literally wade through a crowd that felt more like New York’s Times Square . . .

My thoughts today are not only for patients and their caregivers, but also (at least a little) for those who aren’t “hospice appropriate.”

But first, I’ll focus on the dying. Several months ago one of our physicians at a hospice team meeting warned about . . . overstimulating patients.

Sometimes a patient seems oddly agitated and unsettled. Maybe their usual calm demeanor has been replaced by caustic comments or awkward silences. If they usually spend much of their time resting, why are they so wide-awake? Or have other unsettling actions or attitudes been observed?

Is a particular medicine the problem?

Has the dying process accelerated?

Has the pain from their terminal illness abruptly increased?

Those questions (and more) are possible and should be evaluated.

But it could be overstimulation.

Huh? 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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