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Old 07-05-2018, 09:14 PM   #1
Lucydad
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mom hospice decision...

All,

We are traveling home to Durango, CO on Saturday. The trip is partly pleasure, but mostly family decision time. Mom is 97, in assisted living, blind, almost deaf, with barely ability to walk and feed herself. Her weight is below 80# and assisted living nurse recommended hospice last April. I pushed back, and mom's primary care physician did an exam, and agreed: not time.

So, now I get to appraise her situation first hand. Mentally she has really slipped and I handle all her finances best I can from TX. It is increasingly difficult.

It is up to her doctor, and I, to make the next decision, and that would be more intensive hospice care. The decision will be difficult.

Prayers please for Divine Guidance, as I currently do not have direction...
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Old 07-05-2018, 09:31 PM   #2
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Re: mom hospice decision...

Aww, prayers for wisdom and direction, safe travel. You’ll know when you see your ma.
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Old 07-05-2018, 09:48 PM   #3
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Re: mom hospice decision...

I have dealt with hospice both on a regular basis at work as well as a few times personally.

They are great and allow them to pass with whatever dignity is possible.

Talk to her doctor, talk to her, but also go with your gut.
Decide for yourself if whatever condition she is in is a condition you would want to be forced into staying in by family.
Not that it makes it any easier, but I find it harder to decide to make them continue to suffer that to help them by doing nothing except making them comfortable.

Good luck to you and your mother, prayers to you both.


And as a side not, talk to your family about what you want to be done when the time comes. For family to not know what your wishes are makes the decision hard, where if they know, it does help with that decision.
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Old 07-05-2018, 10:44 PM   #4
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Re: mom hospice decision...

Prayers to you your mom and your family.
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Old 07-05-2018, 10:51 PM   #5
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Re: mom hospice decision...

Good luck. I do not envy being in that position in the future, but I hope that my kids can make a solid decision when/if I reach that age and my quality of life goes down hill
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Old 07-05-2018, 11:09 PM   #6
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Re: mom hospice decision...

Prayers for your family.

The decision was clear when it concerned my dad. It wasn't easy though.
Dad had an upswing and then quickly went down hill.
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Old 07-05-2018, 11:11 PM   #7
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Re: mom hospice decision...

I wish you strength in this obviously very difficult time.

Hospice of course being first a function of a physicians opinion regarding impending death and an 'arbitrary' administrative timeline, not at all a function of loss of physical, mental or sensory capabilities in themselves.

Sometimes I think that gap is truly unfortunate as it can go on for years absent 'blessed and merciful Godspeed'.

You have my sympathy and empathy.
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Old 07-05-2018, 11:20 PM   #8
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Re: mom hospice decision...

We will all give you collective strength sir.
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Old 07-06-2018, 12:42 AM   #9
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Re: mom hospice decision...

Prayers sent up....
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Old 07-06-2018, 12:50 AM   #10
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Re: mom hospice decision...

Prayers sent too.
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Old 07-06-2018, 05:53 AM   #11
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Re: mom hospice decision...

Is she still capable of making the decision? Have you had the conversation beforehand? Those two factors made the decision easy for my dad and father-in-law. Both had previously stated under what conditions they would want to continue medical care.
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Old 07-06-2018, 10:31 AM   #12
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Re: mom hospice decision...

My mother is 94 y/o, and has been on & off hospice. Basically what that meant in our family's situation is that medical care was no longer given to prolong life, but rather to give her comfort. In her case, her health actually improved and she's currently off hospice, but that will likely change again within the next few months.

The decision you're making - or helping your mother make - is whether or not to accept life-prolonging care and medicine, and shift instead to care and meds specifically meant to keep her comfortable and pain-free. My guess would be she already has a hospital DNR, and probably a home DNR as well (which should be posted prominently on her door where an EMT could readily see it, if called to the facility).

With hospice, a typical situation might be that your mother has a heart attack or major heart symptoms. Rather than EMTs rushing her to a hospital ER, the response would probably be to give her morphine - probably kept in her name in a "comfort kit" - to ease the pain, while she remains in her own room.

My dad was on home hospice for about 9 months before he died. That entailed at least weekly visits from a hospice nurse, as well as 3X weekly visits from a caregiver who helped with baths, shaving, etc. And the comfort kit was always nearby, but was not needed in his case.

Again, it's all designed to give the patient both comfort and dignity while letting nature take its course. In our case, with both my parents, hospice was an easy & obvious decision with no regrets whatsoever. Hope that helps.
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Old 07-17-2018, 12:55 PM   #13
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Re: mom hospice decision...

All,

Thanks so much for comments, prayers and sharing experience. Seeing her face to face helped, and talking (best she could manage). For now we are staying status quo-- no hospice yet, but we are close. It is difficult being in TX and she in CO. But, we have some good friends and a very focused doctor watching her. Blessings, peace...
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Old 07-17-2018, 03:16 PM   #14
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Re: mom hospice decision...

I have seen a few folks wait too long to go on hospice. I had an elderly relative go on hospice and her health bounced back for several months. I think it was do to negative health impacts from all the "preventative" stuff they were giving (like aspirin to prevent stroke and similar RX drugs). Many older folks are on several different medicines and each one causes complications.

One can always come "off" hospice although some see that as gaming the system if someone goes off/on/off/on etc. One gets MUCH more services covered by medicare once one goes on hospice.

For me, if ever in that situation, I am going to go on sooner rather than later. I think a doctor has to indicate that one has 6 months or less expected life time to become Hospice eligible but I could be wrong.

If one makes the decision to "Do not resuscitate" then Hospice should be an easier decision as soon as eligible.
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Old 07-17-2018, 08:01 PM   #15
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Re: mom hospice decision...

Colorado is a Death With Dignity / Right To Die state. If she is capable of making a lucid decision, she can legally decide whether or not to continue in this life or not. Under the law it is not considered suicide, but I do not know how your religous beliefs will dovetail with the law.

https://www.deathwithdignity.org/states/colorado/

Living in Arizona, that was not an option that my mother had 4 months ago. When she decided to leave us and come off the oxygen it was close to a 90 minute ordeal for her and for us that were there with her. You don't have to put your mother through that same scenario.
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