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Hospice Care/Last stage of lung cancer

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Question
Hello Sydney,

My mother has been diagnosed with lung cancer which is in its last stage. She has had not treatment for this earlier since it was not diagnosed before. At this stage the doctor suggests palliative care.  She is presently in hospital on oxygen. I plan to bring her home and wanted to know how I should prepare. Also, she has very little appetite and there is swelling and occasional head ache and leg ache. I just need to know where I stand and how much time do I have in hand.

Thank you

Answer
Hello

I'm sorry to hear about your mother.  I would need more information before I could give you and idea of how quickly her cancer will progress.  For now just get her home and enjoy the time you have with her.  She will probably need pain management and something for anxiety and sleep right away.  Check the home for any rugs that she might trip on and remove them.  Check for and remove any cords or wires that could cause her to trip and fall. The bathroom is a frequent place that falls take place so grab bars are always a good idea. Encourage her to eat small frequent meals and don't give her a lot of food at once as she might feel overwhelmed with the amount and eat less.  I highly recommend Carnation Instant Breakfast its a powder that mixes with milk and it has a lot of vitamins and nutrients in it.  One glass can replace an entire meal and you can add things to make it like a shake or malt.  Even if it takes her all day to drink one glass at least she is getting nutrition and hydration.  Eventually she may need a hospital bed, wheelchair or other equipment.  If it was my mother I would get her on with a good hospice agency right away.  The support and symptom management will make things easier for everyone involved.  My blessings go out to you during this difficult time.  

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Sydney Humphrey

Expertise

I can answer, provide information, recommend resources or offer examples relating to the majority of hospice, end of life care, death and dying, pain management and palliative care questions. My role in this forum is to provide help to others in the form of information and education.

Experience

My love for hospice started when I was honored with an opportunity to become a volunteer at age 15. My assignments varied from sitting with patients to house cleaning. Within six months I decided hospice was always going to be part of my life. I continued to volunteer while acquiring my Certified Nursing Assistant credentials. Once licensed I then began to work as a CNA for the same hospice agency. I applied to Nursing school with the intent on becoming a hospice nurse. During school I worked as a CNA and continued to volunteer. Upon graduation I secured a position as a Hospice Case Manager immediately. I loved that job and am proud to say I have had the honor of sharing the journey to a peaceful death with over 100 patients and their families. It has made me a better person in every way possible. I eventually moved up the career ladder and starting from the bottom in this industry has given me a unique perspective and allows me to have a higher level of understanding and compassion. I am now an Executive Administrator for a large hospice agency and incredibly happy with my career choice and current position but I do miss the hands on care that was such a big part of my life. As an Administrator I am able to mentor nurses that are new to the field and have watched awareness and respect for this industry grow and thrive.

Organizations
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization Utah Nurses Association

Education/Credentials
I am a Certified Hospice and Paliative Care Nurse. I am certified to provide continuing education courses for health care professionals.

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