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Hospice Care/Catheter use during hospice care


Hi Christine,
My sister is in Stage 4 cancer (sqamous cell carcinoma) of the head and neck and she is under hospice care.  She has deteriorated very quickly and is unable to get out of bed.  We have diapers on her but she refuses to pee in the diaper.  Does hospice use catheters or is that not one of their practices?  I think it would help her tremendously and would keep her more comfortable.  Thank you.

Dear Kathy:

I am so sorry that your sister is so ill, but pleased that you have written.

Yes, urinary catheters are used in hospice care, and they do provide a tremendous amount of comfort and relief, not just to patients, who no longer have to concern themselves with peeing in a diaper, but also whose skin is protected from the damage caused by sitting in wet--and the odor of urine!  A well maintained catheter is an excellent option, in fact, I cannot imagine using diapers on adults who are aware of themselves and their surroundings.

Thank you for writing to me--push that hospice to hear your sister's needs and wants, and keep advocating for her!

Peace to you and your family,

Hospice Care

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Christine Johnson


I can give suggestions, encouragement and direction on what hospice is and is not, when it is appropriate, and how to go about getting it. I am familiar with Medicaid and Medicare hospice benefits. I can answer general questions about disease process, what dying looks like, how hospice handles pain and other symptoms, what to expect from a hospice when end of life nears. I can provide support, direction and encouragement related to spiritual matters and psychological matters related to death and dying.


I am a certified hospice and palliative care nurse, and have been the director of nurses for three hospice centers, under two different companies. I have also worked as a contract hospice nurse for a large American hospice company. On a personal level, my father died without benefit of hospice (it was not popular then). I have taken care of dying patients in hospitals and recognize that for most of us, it is preferable to die at home (or in our residence, wherever that may be), comfortably and without anxiety. Also I had no support when my father died; hospice clients are the whole family (however that is defined by the "patient"), and support is provided at least a year after the patient passes. These are the sorts of things (and probably others) that I can help with.

HPNA (Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association)

none yet

Registered Nurse (TX), Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (TX) ADN Nursing, Excelsior College, Albany, New York (2004) 4.0 GPA BA, Psychology (minor Social Work), Oklahoma University, Norman, OK (1986) 3.67 GPA MHR (MA) Human Relations, Oklahoma University, Norman, OK (1988) 3.5 GPA

Awards and Honors
Phi Beta Kappa (and others)

Past/Present Clients
Unable to name as this would violate their privacy (and HIPAA....)

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