Sunday, October 08, 2006

Aunt Pat

From Delphine come these updates on her mother (and our mother's sister), Aunt Pat...

October 5:

Went to the nursing home today to take her to the beauty shop. Got our hair done and went to eat and she ate quite well. Got back to the health care center. And I went to talk to my daughter-in-law who is a registered. Nurse there and in charge of Medical records. Got some bad news. They want to put Mom on "end of life" care. Hospice. I had my choice of using the in-home care at the health care center. Or having outside hospice come to the nursing home. I told her in nursing home care was fine. She said Mom has really been going down hill. They have her in ambulatory care to try keep her active and up but she is refusing to do anything or cooperate when they try to work with her. She is refusing to eat and is rapidly losing weight. Down to 109 lbs. So in hospice she will have a CNA and a nurse assigned to her to check on her more often. Hospice care means that she can refuse anything and does not have to do anything she doesn't want to. Which means she will not have to take her meds if she no longer wants to. If she refuses them several times then they discontinue meds all together which of course Means Mom can have a stroke or a heart attack or whatever. Also means that they do not have to try to get her to eat. If she doesn't want to eat she won't have to. She will no longer be talked into doing anything she does not want to do.

I am waiting for a call from the gal in charge of setting this up. Audrey just told me about it but another gal is in charge of explaining everything to me in full and I imagine will have the paperwork that I will have to sign. Knew this day had to be coming but still hit me in the stomach like someone had whacked me a good one.

October 7:

UPDATE: Saw the lady in charge of Hospice. Was very encouraging. I was very impressed with what Hospice does. Mom will still get full care from nursing home staff but will now have a full team of extra people there just for her. 2 nurses a CNA and 2 other specialists. They not only take care of Mom but support family as well if you need any counseling or whatever.

They are giving Mom so many pills, her 4 or 5 prescription pills, but a handful of supplement vitamins etc. Well Mom often hides her pills because she all her life has had trouble swallowing pills and to see so many overwhelms her and she does know she never used to take that many pills. She lived to 91 without all these supplements and always had excellent health and excellent bones, etc. I tried to talk to the Dr. about cutting out the supplements so all Mom would get is the very necessary pills and with just a few she would take them, but not when they hand her so many, but I never could get the Dr. to answer my calls. I told Hospice this and they have the power to do just what I wanted. So they will get her pill intake reduced so hopefully she will be more willing to take them. Sounds like Mom will be getting much better and more personal care. I guess I never really knew what Hospice meant before but it is a "comfort", "Quality" end of life care. They just do whatever the person wants to make them as comfortable and stress free in their last months as possible. She will no longer have to go to the hospital, have anymore surgeries. Needles, whatever, if she doesn't want to. They have things to give her if any pain occurs just to make her comfortable but no more hospital procedure stress or traumas. She did tell me that by the time a person has declined to the point that they are eligible to go on Hospice that 90% die within 45 days to 3 months. The Hospice is good for 6 months. I asked what happens if she lives beyond 6 months. She said she will be reevaluated and recertified if necessary. Said they did have one lady on Hospice for 2 yrs. But that is very rare.

Since she will be having "extra" people always checking on her I too wondered if I could still take her out so I did ask and she said absolutely we encourage people to take them places as we want them to have complete comfort and quality a life as they can in their last days. So I will still be taking her to the beauty shop for as long as she can still get around. We did go Thurs. And I was amazed as she was walking better than she had for several weeks so I thought she was improving with her ambulatory care but I guess this is all just part of the ending process. They are so good one day and way down the next. Next week she probably won't be able to walk at all.

October 8:

I can also cancel Hospice any time if I feel it isn't working or am unhappy about anything, whatever. But It sure sounded like the way to go for now as I have had so much trouble getting things done the way mom wanted it with just nursing home staff. Like keeping her window curtain open so she can see out as she hates being "closed" in. I have talked til I am blue in the face about that even wrote a note on cloth and pinned it to the curtain saying please leave these curtains open for my Mom and still they are always closed when I go there. Made her a nice little lap quilt with a hand muff on the front that would fit in her wheel chair as she is always so cold and hands freezing all the time and she uses it a lot when she lays down. Puts her little lap quilt on and tucks her hands in the muff and just loves it. Yet every time I go there the little quilt has been tossed aside when they made the bed and is laying on a chair under a bunch of stuff that doesn't even belong to her and she doesn't have her little Muff/quilt. So I am constantly digging that out for her. The biggest problem is they can't keep help there so every time I get someone to do the things that make Mom comfortable they quit and it starts all over again. Hospice sounds like she will have 2 nurses whose names were given to me and a CNA that will be just for Mom so should be the same people all the time. So let's hope.