We Are Considering Bringing Mom Home With Help From Hospice, Any Suggestions?

5 answers | Last updated: Sep 23, 2016
Kinglear asked...

My 92 y Mother, after choking, went into cardiac pulmonary arrest, was revived, on ventilator and then due to failing the "swolling study" put on a feeding tube. She has been in a nursing home for 3 months and all therapy including speech therapy has been discontinued. She can have nothing by mouth (even ice chips). She is also on a catheter and oxygen as well as incontinent. We are considering bringing her home with the help of hospice. Any thoughts or suggestions?

Expert Answers

Audrey Wuerl, RN, BSN, PHN, is education coordinator for Hospice of San Joaquin in California. She is also a geriatric trainer for the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC), which promotes education in geriatric nursing and end-of-life care.

Hospice is truly about providing a peaceful life closure, usually in the home setting. It sounds like your mother has been through quite a lot. And, often times the hospital will send a patient to a nursing home after an acute admission for various therapies. If you feel you can now care for your mother in your home, then definitely consider hospice.

Hospice is about supportive care"”for your mother and for you. The benefit provides a hospital bed, and other equipment deemed necessary, as determined by the nurse who will assess her in your home. You will also receive necessary medications for pain and symptom management as well as her oxygen. You will all be trained to care for her in the home by the hospice staff. They may also be able to send a hospice aide to help with bathing, etc.

Hospice staff are truly experts in end-of-life care. By addressing all the "parts" all of us are"”physical, psychological, social, and spiritual"”we can help provide for a respectful and dignified life closure for your mother.

Community Answers

Arlindababcock answered...

I'm so sorry about your mother. This is very difficult to watch happen to those we love. It sounds as though you are doing everything you can for her now, and if you bring her home, you may want to get in-home caregivers to supplement hospice and your care. There will be much to do, and it can be very difficult for those not trained in bed care and to be on duty 24/7 yourself is exhausting. If you look at home care, please look for a reputable agency and don't hire off the street. The liability is too much to risk. Hospice can recommend good agencies in your area.

Rrc answered...

god bless you Kinglear for considering bringing your mother home. Take note that Audrey says Hospice gives supportive care. you and your family will become full time caregivers. You will probably get a free home health care aide for 1 hour a day depending on the Hospice budget. They will send a nurse 2 or 3 times a week to check her vitals.Also a nurse will come when you need one for a problem. Medicare covers Hospice in full. You will have to change her depends when she wets or messes them. Change her position in bed often and probably empty her catheter plus feed her. In our area and most areas Hospice does not provide 24 hour in home help. If you decide to keep her in the nursing home Hospice can care for her there. That way you will be sure your mother's care is not neglected. Very few nursing homes have the staff to properly care for their residents. that being said. My wife died of Alzheimer's last year. I kept her at home. The last 3 months of her life Hospice helped. It was both physically and mentally exhausting but rewarding to know she died at home and received the best end of life care from Hospice, me and my daughter in law. I have no regrets and would do the same again. rrc

Bonnieb72 answered...

I have personally seen hospice work wonderfully in New York, it worked horribly in Oklahoma for my bro.-in-law, and now my younger sister's husband in Arkansas will be under hospice care tomorrow (Oct. 3, 2011) I am not sure what the answer is to choose a 'wonderful' trained hospice,but my sister-in-law,dying of cancer could not have had a more helpful and supportive hospice,it made the transition between life & death so much easier for the husband of my sister-in-law and her family. The horribly non-professional hospice as I saw first hand from the care of my bro.-in-law in Oklahoma,and the horrible experience for my sister the caregiver was too insufficient and she (my sister,the caregiver being 5'2" tall, 150lbs.)had to take care of her husband 6'4" weight 300 lbs.!!)At the end stage of his life,she had to suction out his throat to keep him from choking to death,had to adminster more and more morphine & other drugs to ease his pain and/or discomfort, no one from hospice was there in her greatest hour of need.I would ask,"is there anyone out there that can share, how to choose a hospice"so you will not be in the same situation,and it would help you Kinglear as well as my younger sister who will be in your situation as of tomorrow. Thank you for any and all answers, Bonnieb..Texas..just to say "each State must have different requirements for their Hospice Facilities"

Seafoam answered...

Sorry for your situation. I do have to agree with RRC. Hospice can be a blessing under some circumstances but in other cases they aren't as good as they lead you to believe. Check around with other people as to the best agency. When someone goes on hospice the company providing care gets the same daily rate no matter if they visit or not. I did something similar to what you are thinking of doing but after years of providing care 24/7, the feeding tube, therapy, trying everything and in the end we had to go to the hospital for some tests as swallow problems started over - while we were there she got worse from being immobile - and then was put on hospice. People can get better on hospice and in particular in their own home and surroundings and family members they like. While in the unit at the hospital they were dripping morphine in her mouth every time my back was turned. She wasn't in pain she just couldn't eat and we were not going back to the feeding tube. Sorry to be so blunt but the meds are the form of help they give you - it actually has side effects it's really more like euthinasia than anything else from my experiences. Morphine "calms the pains" - if there is any but it also slows down all the body's organs and helps them start shutting down. The more morphine they can give them the quicker they go. The nurses come to check on what stage they are at and then tell you what to expect. They give you a phone number to call if you need support but for me I think it was just the nurse on duty at the hospice unit of the hospital who said I'll have the nurse contact you. Afterwards I never heard a thing from them - all the stuff they promised never materialised except the drugs, a new bed and chair for the duration and a nurse to pronounce the patient dead.

I brought mine home with almost no help again but it was the right thing to do for her. I would never do it again for anyone sad to say but I have become jaded by doing everything myself while siblings one block away just called every once in a while and continued on with their lives while I gave YEARS of mine. They were all of course front and center when it came to getting there rightful inheritances and debate each and every expense I had. I don't regret what I did for my parent but I sure didn't do it for my siblings. They are on their own from here on out I won't even recognize them, Public television is my new beneficiary.