Visiting Terminal Patient in the Hospital

  1. I am a home health nurse who has been seeing a woman who is dying of cancer. Last week I turned in blood work on this patient and that night they called to tell her to get to the ER ASAP because the potassium level in her body was at an almost lethal level.
    Well, today my boss told me she won't be coming home and the hospital is going to keep her until she dies.
    I feel like I should visit. I've been seeing this patient nearly 8 months. But I feel awkward. What should I talk about? What should I say?
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    About Jo Dirt

    Joined: May '04; Posts: 3,422; Likes: 1,298
    Specialty: 9 year(s) of experience


  3. by   river1951
    As hospice, we visit patients no matter where they are. Just sit, hold her hand and see if there is anything she wants you to do. Most folks are just afraid of being alone, your visit WILL be meaningful.
    I love your caring.
  4. by   tnbutterfly
    You've been with her for a long time and I'm sure have built up a relationship with her that is more like a friendship. You have been allowed to share very difficult times with her. She is probably comfortable around you. She needs someone to talk to, someone who will listen. You don't have to "entertain" her. It's fine to tell her the way you feel.....that if makes you sad to see her there; that you don't know what to say but that you will be there for her. Silence is perfectly fine too. The greatest gift we can give someone is the gift of our presence. It will mean so much to her to know you care enough to be with her and share this difficult time. She knows it's hard for you. If you feel like crying, that's OK too. Just be yourself. I'm sure you'll do fine if you follow your heart.
  5. by   CHATSDALE
    vist with her..maybe she could use a familiar face to see, the end days can be had even for a hospice nurse who is trained and knowledgeable...we always see our own destiny
    check with dietary requirements, maybe a little snack with be a pleasand diversion from hosp faree
  6. by   muffie
    your presence will say it all
  7. by   Jo Dirt
    I've also developed a friendship with her main private duty nurse. I talked to her on the phone the other night. Maybe it would be good if we both went in to see her at the same time. Kind of sad, though, because I would stop at her apartment on my rounds and have lunch with them sometimes or just visit. We would laugh and talk and watch tv. She was, and still is, from what I gather, totally with it mentally. I just don't know why the hospital is not letting her go home. Why, when it is toward the end, will the hospital keep them?
  8. by   tnbutterfly
    Can they keep her against her will??? Maybe that's what she wants. But if it's not, maybe something can be done to let her go home. Her last wish. Does she have family? Who is making the decisions?