I need honest advice about hospice care. My great grandfather is currently being cared for by a hospice company for terminal lung cancer & COPD. He has been under their care for around 7 months. In the past month he has stopped eating and drinking. He has now been without water, except for the syringe fulls that he gets with his crushed up xanax and liquid morphine for 22 days! He can not move and stays in a coma like state for most of the day until the late afternoon when his condition gets worse he will open his eyes. We have had to beg hospice for every little bit of equipment we have gotten to make this easier on the family. The lift to move him, replacement of 5 broken oxygen machines, and the suction machine to clear his throat of mucus have all had to been asked and begged for. Now my question is, isn't this plain cruelty to let him lay there with no water for almost a month. Dehydration is painful and hospice only tells us this is part of the process. We, the family, all know he is going to die. The issue is, hospice is supposed to make the patient comfortable. He is not comfortable in this state and is now unable to be transported to a hospital. Why does hospice not give IV fluids for a comfort measure.
Jan 12, '13
It's a common misconception to think that dehydration is increasing suffering, or, as you stated, cruel. Studies have shown, however, that people who are actively dying actually benefit from being a bit on the dry side. To attempt hydration via IV fluids would probably be much more unpleasant. Not only would they have to poke around for a vein in a dehydrated pt (unless he already has a PICC or port) but even if his body is able to properly assimilate the fluids you would just be extending the dying process. At this stage, the fluid could very well go into places not wanted (such as his lungs) and make things worse.
Jan 12, '13
I'm very sorry for your situation, the above poster explains very well the common misconceptions of dehydration and the dying process. I've been there with my own father, fortunately we had a wonderful hospice nurse that explained exactly what is written by the previous poster....additional hydration would likely cause a worse, more painful situation especially if the fluid ended up in the tissue or lungs hence why in hospice, IV hydration is often not considered a comfort measure especially in late stage.
As per the site terms of service, "ALLNURSES.COM, INC or it's members do not offer medical advice. Any requests for such will be taken down. If you have a medical problem, please seek attention from your health care provider. You are not allowed to ask for medical advice related to a health situation that affects you, a family member, or someone you know."
Have you tried discussing your concerns with your nurse case manager, hospice case manager or your grandfather's physician?
Jan 12, '13
I am so sorry about your grandfather. Kat is right. Dehydrtion isn't painful we just think it is.....IVF could prolong his sufering. It is so hard to let a loved one go and to watch them leaving. But, per the Terms of Service..... we can't give medical advice....and we don't know anything about your grandfather and his medical history. The process is nothing like TV. Have faith that he is getting the care he needs. Talk to you Grandfathers PCP if you are uncertain or unhappy.
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