Hospice Care/My dads hands

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Question
My dad has been in hospice for 3 months he can barely eat and we went from talking 3x a day to 1 every two days. His hands are now turning purple I dont get it whats going to happen next? Is he not going to last the full 6 months? He has cirrhosis n a hernia that cant be removed. Two leaky heart valves diabetic and his stomach gets big with water. He also has obstruction of the stomach and hia legs are getting dark

Answer
Hi Daddy's Girl

I'm so sorry to hear about your father. Your questions and concerns are very valid.  What your seeing with his discolored hands is a change in the body's way of supplying only the vital organs. When vital organs begin to be compromised due to disease progression it will shut down circulation to the non vital organs  (the extremities) this creates a purple and sometimes spotted look.  This is called mottling and it's a sign of disease progression and its likely that he is closer to death than 6 months. His intake has also decreased which is another sign if disease progression Try to ask your hospice nurse for a copy of Gone From My Sight it will explain what to expect in just enough detail and it only takes a few minutes to read. I think you will find it very helpful because it answers a lot if the questions your having.  Not everyone progresses the same but it's likely that you will see his intake decrease significantly and he may begin to have difficulty breathing, possible anxiety and/or agitation, he may also become semi comatose.  He has a lot of what we call co-morbities which means multiple diagnosis that will lead to a faster progression of the dying process. His lungs may begin to fill with fluid as the heart gets weaker it try's to eliminate excess fluid so it doesn't have to work as hard. The lungs are a big empty space so fluid is diverted and dummped in the lungs.  When this happens the breathing becomes moist and he will have a more difficult time breathing and his breaths will sound moist. These symptoms can be treated to some extent by the hospice team and the book I mentioned will give you some comfort. I hope this answers your questions. If for some reason you can't get a copy of the book please send me a message and I'll get one off to you. Best of luck.

Warmest Regards

Sydney Humphrey  

Hospice Care

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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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