After deciding against surgery for her degenerative heart condition and another hospital stay, my mother-in-law made the decision to transition from home care to hospice care. The most difficult thing for me, as well as others in the family, was accepting that she really understood her alternatives, the implications of her decision, and the process she was about to undergo. When she informed us of her decision, every one of us at one time or another questioned her about it.
Was she aware of all her choices? Is this something she really wanted? Did she understand the consequences of her decision and the process involved? To us, it didn’t make sense but she was patient with all of us. She appeared to understand the implications of her choice and was comfortable with her decision. This change of focus from preventive care to palliative care was a big adjustment for us.
Her decision made her mortality a real and present fact. My mother-in-law, however, seemed relieved when hospice care discontinued many of her daily medications and she was reassured that she would not be returning to the hospital or riding in an ambulance again. She wasn’t as happy about the arrival of a hospital bed, wheelchair and freestanding commode. However, realized it was an outcome of her decision.
The first meeting with the hospice care worker was overwhelming. There was so much new information to digest and new procedures and medications to administer. We also needed to be aware of the various steps in her weakening condition and how we should respond to them. The hospice care worker was empathetic and dealt with all of us in a factual but kind and understanding manner. We have just begun this process and are learning and adjusting each day.
– By Hello! Home Care contributing writer Bill Mishico