Hello all. I just started working hospice a few weeks ago and I need some advice. What would you say to the significant other of a cancer pt who states he (the pt) will never get better if he doesn't quit smoking? (I said something dumb like as long as he's not on oxygen it's okay). What do you say to loved one who are in denial? Any help you guys can offer would be greatly appreciated.
Sep 4, '12
I would plan a time to meet solo with the family member to discover if they actually believe that the patient is going to get better.
It is important to help family members understand that hospice is involved because this disease state is going to end in death and that the hospice goals are related to comfort, dignity, and quality of life.
To that end, I would encourage the family to allow the patient to smoke if that is what brings them peace and comfort at this point in their life. Similarly, if the patient was a diabetic, I would not restrict their access to sugar or sweets that pleased them.
Sep 5, '12
Thanks tewdles. I will try that.
Sep 8, '12
At my hospice they offer literature to hand out to family members to read when they have time. Also, we use a "timeline". Often we will ask the family member how the pt was doing a month, 2 weeks, 1 week ago and have them compare that condition to the current one. Once they have answered that question, we will ask "How do you think the pt's condition will be a month, week or days from now?" A majority of the time it will click. But, there are some people who will never get it. Good luck!!
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