Taking dying patient home with children - what are your thoughts?

  1. 6 I was reading a SW's note on a patient recently and read about the family's refusal to take patient home because they have little children. I am encountering more and more people these days who want to shield their children from seeing death/dying.

    I am a huge proponent of providing hospice care at home, allowing people to die in their own bed, surrounded by their family. Not in a hospital. Not in a nursing facility. And so, I am saddened by this situation.

    When I was little, I remember my aunts taking care of my dying grandmother at home. I remember her vacant stare, a tube from her nose, the deep, gasping breaths. It was strange to me, but I was not scared or anything. I feel like we underestimate children a lot. I think kids can take it. Even learn an important lesson about life that way.

    What do you think? Would you feel comfortable letting your children see a family member dying, or do you think dying person should be kept away from children?
  2. Visit  tokebi profile page

    About tokebi, MSN

    tokebi has '11' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Hem/Onc/BMT'. From 'California'; Joined Mar '10; Posts: 418; Likes: 887.

    37 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  JBudd profile page
    17
    When my husband was diagnosed with cancer, he came home. Our TV room became a mini ICU; with suction, tube feed, PCA, TPN, BSC. He spent the majority of his last 4 months with his 6, 9 and 12 year old kids.

    Yeah, they had some issues during their teens, but that came more with losing their daddy than being kept away from him.
    KelRN215, AmyRN303, imintrouble, and 14 others like this.
  4. Visit  nichefinder profile page
    7
    Such is this culture... I am glad I wasn't brought up here. I will NEVER let my parents even step on the parking lot of nursing homes. It's really sad, this country.
  5. Visit  Not_A_Hat_Person profile page
    1
    I can understand if the kids are under 5.
    imintrouble likes this.
  6. Visit  schnookimz profile page
    3
    I can understand it in the sense that they don't know how he will die. Will it be a pretty morphine go to sleep death? Or may it perhaps be gorier and more painful? Family especially, without medical background, may have no idea what the death will look like so they not want to risk exposing their kids to it.
  7. Visit  maryray profile page
    0
    Quote from nichefinder
    Such is this culture... I am glad I wasn't brought up here. I will NEVER let my parents even step on the parking lot of nursing homes. It's really sad, this country.
    Yes, this country is so horrible and depraved. Sad, sad country. I wish I grew up elsewhere.
  8. Visit  maryray profile page
    6
    [QUOTE="tokebi;7778682"]I was reading a SW's note on a patient recently and read about the family's refusal to take patient home because they have little children. I am encountering more and more people these days who want to shield their children from seeing death/dying.

    I am a huge proponent of providing hospice care at home, allowing people to die in their own bed, surrounded by their family. Not in a hospital. Not in a nursing facility. And so, I am saddened by this situation.

    When I was little, I remember my aunts taking care of my dying grandmother at home. I remember her vacant stare, a tube from her nose, the deep, gasping breaths. It was strange to me, but I was not scared or anything. I feel like we underestimate children a lot. I think kids can take it. Even learn an important lesson about life that way.

    What do you think? Would you feel comfortable letting your children see a family member dying, or do you think dying person should be kept away from children?[/QUOTE

    I have no problem allowing my children see loved ones die naturally. My parents had stated their wishes though. They would rather be in a nice nursing home than be a burden to their family. Their feelings came from them going through this with their own parents. I can't judge, and neither should an outsider to the family.
    RetRN77, tokebi, imintrouble, and 3 others like this.
  9. Visit  cinlou profile page
    2
    Love and learning what Love is, is about the circle of life, death is part of life, explaining to children what is going on according to the age level helps them understand except death as a part of life and the journey we all will make. They should not be brought up to be fearful of death, but to understand it, it is ok to be saddened by it, they should be part of their family during this process and they won't be so angry about the loss if they understand the process, yes they will be sad that they did not have the person in their life longer, but they will be able to talk about the experience and express their feelings because they will have experienced it and be taught how to express those feelings. They will have a better ability to be able to let someone they Love go instead of keeping them on life support, they will be comfortable enough to discuss death and the wishes of their Loved ones. Yes I believe they should be part of it, keeping them away from it causes them to internalize feelings that they don't understand instead of being able to be comfortable expressing them in an appropriate manner
    tokebi and kungpoopanda like this.
  10. Visit  nichefinder profile page
    1
    well, to be little fair now, I think I must have just seen bad side of things... it's easier to see bad things happen a lot more often than good things especially working in this field. damn all that bedside is turning me bitter, i must run away hahaha
    Not_A_Hat_Person likes this.
  11. Visit  Emergent profile page
    18
    I like America. I'm proud of this wonderful nation. I was born and raised here. I love my country, warts and all.
  12. Visit  SE_BSN_RN profile page
    1
    Sometimes, with advanced warning, you can keep the kids from seeing the actual death. That may be what the family is afraid of. Can you ask them what their fears are, and address them? Do they even have appropriate resources to provide care at home, even with hospice?
    Not_A_Hat_Person likes this.
  13. Visit  K+MgSO4 profile page
    1
    My mother and father nursed my maternal uncle in our house as he died of a brain tumor. I must of been less than 7 as it was before we moved to Ireland. In rural ireland death was just part of life. Old people died, they were "waked" in their house. My mothers cancer group friends died. From an early age we all attended the wakes, as a young girl I was expected to help with the food at these events, a body, often in an open coffin in the lounge. Admittedly my mother did not want or have this herself as she was brought up in a slightly different tradition 2 hrs south of where my father and us kids grew up.

    My feelings is that this is a rural city divide as well. I currently live and work in metro Melbourne. Many of the early 20's nurses have never seen a dead body or been exposed to death. When I talk to nurses from other countries and cultures and those brought up in the country side it is a different story death is a natural part of the life cycle that we all need exposure to.
    tokebi likes this.
  14. Visit  Mom2boysRN profile page
    8
    At 16 my grandfather was dying of cancer. He lived in another state, but we were visiting frequently. There was a point when us grandkids were no longer allowed to see him. We were told that he didn't want us to remember him that way, he wanted us to remember him as he was when he was healthy. I hated it and I wanted every moment I could have with my grandpa. I also respect what he wanted. I wondered at that time how awful it was that us kids had to be kept away. I don't think there is a right and wrong, each family deals with the death of a loved one differently. If the adults don't handle death well then the dying person shouldn't be in the home.

    I've had this discussion with my hubby. He said he would want to be put into a hospice, I would want to care for him at home. I know how and I would want to be the one to take care of him. I would want him to put me in a hospice. I know he couldn't emotionally handle taking care of me if I was dying.

    As caregivers we don't know the full story of the families we are caring for. We need to try our best to be nonjudgmental and do our jobs.
    llg, RetRN77, tokebi, and 5 others like this.


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