Quote from LPN9200
My patient did ultimately pass this evening on my shift. Family was present at the time of passing but still fighting any and all comfort medications up until her passing. They did permit me to give the lowest dose of morphine about 2 hours prior to her passing but once she was gone attempted to blame it on me and my medicating her. Of course I understand their grief. I'm just more upset that it just truly wasn't a peaceful passing and I wish I could have done more.
This kills me about the way people conceive of death and they want a family member to live at all costs. It's insanity! I'm so sorry they tried to blame her passing on you merely trying to make her comfortable. You did your best.
I'm curious, though, what kind of education was the family given regarding the dying the process? I think sometimes providers aren't very blunt when it comes to describing symptoms or are afraid of saying something that will get them into trouble (i.e. saying to expect certain symptoms when different ones end up manifesting). I have such a hard time with that. The lack of education about end-of-life symptoms really gets in the way of managing suffering.
Sometimes, when family are present and I get certain vital signs or they ask me to check pulses, I will gently explain what my findings mean and try to reassure them as best as I can. A respiratory rate in the 40s is not comfortable for any adult and watching a sternum bounce up and down as the patient struggles for air is frustrating when the family won't do anything about it because they want them present at all times. They
are the ones who need to be present instead of thinking about future hopes for the patient's recovery. It drives me up the wall. It happens too frequently.