Need to ban a family member from the internet!!! (vent)

  1. I have now has 4 consecutive (sp?) days from hell! I have an actively dying resident on my unit. She is of a very advanced age with heart problems. It is obvious to all who are caring for her that death is imminent (MD, RN, LPN, CNA, etc); however, one of her family members (the POA) keeps going on-line and coming up with her own diagnoses and tx's! Then, she insists that we follow her wishes.

    I just wanted to cry on the way home from work. It has been almost a week that this resident is like this and I probably spent at least 5 hours of my 8 hour shift with her. She is using every accessory muscle to breathe at this point and her lungs are just completely full to the point that she needs suctioning every 15-20 minutes (POA wants fluids even with knowing this!)

    And it also doesn't help that there is one nurse at work who keeps giving the family false hope.

    I am just SO frustrated! Why is it impossible to let our loved ones die with dignity?
  2. 23 Comments

  3. by   ktwlpn
    That's the hardest part of our job,isn't it? We are having a run of hospice residents on my unit and the hospice staff have done an excellent job.They are the ones that get the life sucked out of them by these wacky family members so we can actually provide care for all of our folks.Can you ask for a hospice consult? It's awful to have to watch someone suffer like that.I know of instances in which co-workers have made anonymous calls to the state and they stepped in. Does this gal have an advance directive and/or dpoa/poa? It often does not matter if the MD won't step up for the reisdnet it really leaves you in a tough spot.Do something nice for yourself-you deserve it...
  4. by   caliotter3
    I'm sorry to say this but this is a limiting problem. The patient will be leaving us soon and then you can relax from all the stress caused by the family. I hope she can pass in peace.
  5. by   kermitlady
    The patient was on hospice briefly a few weeks ago. Until, the POA (aka net-addicted family member) decided that no one could predict when it was "Grandma's time to go". And yes, this patient is a DNR. I have personally heard the MD tell the entire family that the patient is for all intents and purposes gone and all that is left is her body finishing pysiological functions.

    Caliotter ~ I know it's a limiting problem but I feel so bad for the poor lady.
  6. by   caliotter3
    Too bad you can't run the family away for short periods of time so she can get some rest, peace, and quiet.
  7. by   arelle68
    Well, we run the full spectrum with our families, don't we. This kind, and the kind that won't even show up when you tell them that their mother's death is eminent.
  8. by   VICEDRN
    You know, I was reading POA as PITA the first time through this post.

  9. by   kermitlady
    Quote from rn2tobeatlanta
    You know, I was reading POA as PITA the first time through this post.

    Well, if the shoe fits....
  10. by   SummerGarden
    why not tell the family member to look up information on the dying process? tell him/her to look up how the body dies slowly when its time is to go. i am not good with telling people someone is dying. i leave that to the palliative care people and say nothing when a patient asks quesitons to fish for information to feed his/her denial.
  11. by   steelcityrn
    We see this often in homecare, patients that are ready to pass, yet family want everything done and won't consider hospice. Sometimes they are in denial, sometimes its about money, sometimes about sibblings fighting, who knows...its all kinds of reasons, but as a nurse its very difficult.One patients dgt told me that hospice kills people, and the nurses that are in hospice coiuld not cut it in the hospital, so they are working in hospice to let people die!@!!! This is the mentality we sometimes have to deal with.
  12. by   flightnurse2b
    sorry you have to deal with this. i hope she passes in peace.

    maybe it would be a good thought on the MD's part to suggest either a private sitter/companion for the patient so that the POA can get some respite if he/she is not interested in hospice services for their loved ones. perhaps he may also mention that drowning in your own secretions is an incredibly uncomfortable way to die....
  13. by   Natkat
    Quote from caliotter3
    I'm sorry to say this but this is a limiting problem. The patient will be leaving us soon and then you can relax from all the stress caused by the family. I hope she can pass in peace.
    Unfortunately another one will spring up to take her place, then another.......then infiniti.

    I deal with this all the time and I'm still trying to figure out how to handle it. I do dialysis on people all the time that should just be allowed to die peacefully. In my mind, when the kidneys go in a person with multiple co-morbidities it is the body's way of saying buh-bye. Why keep torturing the poor soul when it's futile.....not to mention expensive.
  14. by   achot chavi
    I am sorry that you are going through this, you sound very angry and frustrated, it is hard to care for a person at the end stages of life,
    It also sounds like she needs a private duty nurse, you cant possibly be giving quality care to all the rest of your pts if you are 5 hours out of 8 with one.
    I would ask the family to pitch in or send her to hospice.