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Hospice Care/Moms in hospice with complete liver failure and kidney failure

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Question
So my question right to the point mom was told she was expecting to pass a week and a half ago she is in a great hospice they are making her very comfortable although very doped up she's not at coma state she's not overly confused very tired and sleeping all the time but even the doctors are shocked she's still with us I am happy about that but also kinda wish I knew how long she will be with us if you can

Answer
Dear Janine--

I am sorry to hear that your Mom is so ill, but delighted to know she is receiving hospice care and that the hospice is "great."  Yea!

She sounds like she is near the end, judging by all her sleeping.  Since I have had patients last ten days to two weeks longer than expected, and some died a little more quickly than we expected, I can only say that I would assume it could be any time.  I would encourage you to be with her as much as possible, even if you sit in a chair in the room with her and nap or read.  She may well make some effort to talk to you, and you may or may not understand her, but you will likely want to be able to assure her that you are there, she is not alone, you will all miss her and that it is OK to go when she is ready.  Those kinds of things, and telling her what a wonderful Mom she was, can make the end of life more pleasant and fulfilling not just for her but for all of you.

(This would not be the time to bring up old hurts, unless you want to forgive her or reassure her.  I did know one family who broke out into a yelling match as the mother passed away.  She was a very sweet woman and I'm certain she was relieved to get away from all the arguing!)

One thing I have noticed is that patients sometimes tend to rally a bit when hospice care was begun.  Hospice of course does not aim to delay or hurry death, it just aims to help people manage more calmly and with little or no pain.  I also think that hospice care tends to relieve distress, and of course symptoms such as pain can be eased, and those things together can improve one's outlook.  I knew of one patient who recovered so well despite his advanced cancer, that his hospice discharged him because he was too healthy to qualify for care any longer, but he was a very unusual man and an unusual situation.

I am not certain of your question, so if I have not answered it, I hope you will write to me again.

Warm regards,
Christine

Hospice Care

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Christine Johnson

Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

Organizations
HPNA (Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association)

Publications
none yet

Education/Credentials
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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