Hospice nurse: I don't kill!

  1. In response to a previous column of mine on hospice care, I received the following (edited) e-mail from hospice nurse Laurie Walton of Davie, Florida:

    "I am sick and tired of the accusations that hospice facilities kill patients. We are not in the business of euthanasia. We are sick of this kind of rhetoric which instills fear in those who are suffering end-of-life illnesses and are afraid to accept relief from pain because of these accusations. They think that by accepting the care we offer we are hastening death. Odd. We actually discharge some patients for extended prognosis.

    "I have been a hospice nurse for 13 plus years. I have not once, not ever, caused a death. I have had to educate patients and families about pain and symptom management, ad nauseam. We follow the World Health Organization pyramid of pain relief which begins with Tylenol, the generic of which is acetaminophen. We follow the guidelines even with that, which are that it cannot exceed 4000 mg (4 grams) in 24 hours because of liver damage. We titrate the Class II pain relief medications carefully, and it should be known that we take into account many factors such as age, size of patient and prior use of pain relieving meds.

    "As the body systems fail, the body is less and less able to tolerate fluids. In fact, in the dying process, the cardiovascular system weakens resulting in fluids building in the lungs. It is natural. Adding fluids at this point compounds fluid build-up and results in greater discomfort. What is not natural is to spend dying hours and days hooked up to machines with needles sticking the patient, not to mention cold, impersonal hospital rooms or wards, frequently in ICU, with limited visitation.

    "Many of our patients want to be cared for in their own homes, and we can do this. Some hospices, such as ours, can also offer inpatient care in our own facilities if it is preferred or symptoms require it. We can offer inpatient respite care for sick or stressed out caregivers for limited time frames, and we can offer our services to nursing home and retirement home patients.

    Full Story: http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/abbott/050619
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    About Brian, ADN

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    10 Comments

  3. by   rambisisking
    Quote from brian
    In response to a previous column of mine on hospice care, I received the following (edited) e-mail from hospice nurse Laurie Walton of Davie, Florida:

    "I am sick and tired of the accusations that hospice facilities kill patients. We are not in the business of euthanasia. We are sick of this kind of rhetoric which instills fear in those who are suffering end-of-life illnesses and are afraid to accept relief from pain because of these accusations. They think that by accepting the care we offer we are hastening death. Odd. We actually discharge some patients for extended prognosis.

    "I have been a hospice nurse for 13 plus years. I have not once, not ever, caused a death. I have had to educate patients and families about pain and symptom management, ad nauseam. We follow the World Health Organization pyramid of pain relief which begins with Tylenol, the generic of which is acetaminophen. We follow the guidelines even with that, which are that it cannot exceed 4000 mg (4 grams) in 24 hours because of liver damage. We titrate the Class II pain relief medications carefully, and it should be known that we take into account many factors such as age, size of patient and prior use of pain relieving meds.

    "As the body systems fail, the body is less and less able to tolerate fluids. In fact, in the dying process, the cardiovascular system weakens resulting in fluids building in the lungs. It is natural. Adding fluids at this point compounds fluid build-up and results in greater discomfort. What is not natural is to spend dying hours and days hooked up to machines with needles sticking the patient, not to mention cold, impersonal hospital rooms or wards, frequently in ICU, with limited visitation.

    "Many of our patients want to be cared for in their own homes, and we can do this. Some hospices, such as ours, can also offer inpatient care in our own facilities if it is preferred or symptoms require it. We can offer inpatient respite care for sick or stressed out caregivers for limited time frames, and we can offer our services to nursing home and retirement home patients.

    Full Story: http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/abbott/050619
    I am stunned! Matt...Whatever.... Are you a nurse? A doctor? A nurses aide? Even a secretary who works in a hospital, Nursing home, or hospice center? Have you followed nurses and doctors around and seen the things that you have printed? Just wondering if you have any idea of what you are saying and If you have anything to prove what you are saying or if you are just an armchair critic. Or even better, maybe you would like us to believe that God said, "Hey Matt, I'm going on vacation for a while .... Take over for me and pass judgement on everything". Where did you get your ceterification to sit in judgement of this. Does believing in the right to life give you the right to decide how to judge everything, or does God do that on Judgement Day? Just wondering who you actually think is in charge here. From the little that I have had to do wiith Hospice, which consists of working with a few outpatient hospice nurses when I was charge nurse at a nursing home for 17 years, 6 months of total care that I gave to my dearest friend who died from cancer with the unbelievable kindness and care from hospice nurses to aides to pastors, and most recently a week that I spent at the free standing inpatient facility we have in our town staying with my dying aunt. In every interaction I was overwhelmed with awe at seeing each of these individuals spread kindness, and comfort in every way they could to patient and family and friends. I also witnessed the nurses at the hospice facility refuse my request to medicate my aunt because they took the time to talk to her, determine her cognitive ability and follow her wishes. I In my many years working with chronically ill patients, I have medicated people numerous times and wondered if the dose of medication that was ordered for them by THEIR physician that I was about to administer would be the one to put them over. You never know, But one time when I was having a very hard time giving a patient morphine, who was in obvious distress, The nurse I was seeking advice from, told me this: Don't loose sight of what you goal is and you're goal is to remove his distress with the means you have available. That cleared it up for me, My job is not to sit in judgement, my job is to remove his distress. How dare you decide that you can sit in judgementl. Just remember the bible quotes that I am sure you spew around, Judge not least ye be judged. And oh brother, you will be, and it won't be written in a publication that can be disagreed with, my poor hollier than thou little boy. It will be for KEEPS. Now take a good look at yourself in the mirror, admit that you have no more power than anyone else on this earth and say you're sorry
  4. by   boulergirl
    All I can say is, thank God for hospice! I've seen two of our residents die peacefully under hospice care and it was amazing how calmly and skillfully the hospice nurses handled things. It made me less anxious around death and dying.
  5. by   boulergirl

    I am stunned! Matt...Whatever.... Are you a nurse? A doctor? A nurses aide? Even a secretary who works in a hospital, Nursing home, or hospice center? Have you followed nurses and doctors around and seen the things that you have printed? Just wondering if you have any idea of what you are saying and If you have anything to prove what you are saying or if you are just an armchair critic.
    According to the bio at the bottom of the article, Matt Abbott is a journalist and a commentator. Go figure.
  6. by   camano
    Quote from boulergirl
    According to the bio at the bottom of the article, Matt Abbott is a journalist and a commentator. Go figure.

    I think Matt Abbott, (the journalist,) is actually quoting someone named Ron Panzer, president of Hospice Patients Alliance, in the controversial second part of the article. From what I see, I think both the first part and the second part were emails to Matt Abbott, the first being from a nurse, Laurie Walton; the second being a response to the first from the crazy guy, Ron Panzer. I wonder which side Matt Abbott is on, as his opinion of hospice care is not given in the article, but being that he is the "former executive director of the Illinois Right to Life Committee and the former director of public affairs for the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League", I don't have to guess too hard. :uhoh21:
  7. by   SharonH, RN
    Oh dear God, now the Right to Lifers are going after hospice? I am stunned, where does the madness stop?
  8. by   SharonH, RN
    Okay, I went and did some research. This madness is not being fueled by the Right-to-Life movement but by the Hospice Patients Alliance. It is being headed by this Ron Panzer guy who is an RN. There are other nurses and physicians on their advisory board and their board of directors. They claim to want to give hospice patients and their families information on hospice and to make sure that standards of care are met. It sounds good on the surface but you can tell by Panzer's bizarre allegations that this organization is not on the up and up.
  9. by   BabyRN2Be
    I seriously doubt that "right-to-lifers" are going after hospice.

    I was so thankful for the hospice that was in place when my grandfather passed away from Parkinson's. They were so awesome, so comforting and supportive during a very difficult time.

    Maybe some education is needed. Don't jump to conclusions that all "right to lifers" are against hospice. I've seen it used many times for people at our church (and many other churches) who've used hospice. While they would be considered "right to lifers", no one refused treatment. Everyone was very grateful for the treatment they received.
  10. by   camano
    Quote from SharonH, RN
    Okay, I went and did some research. This madness is not being fueled by the Right-to-Life movement but by the Hospice Patients Alliance. It is being headed by this Ron Panzer guy who is an RN. There are other nurses and physicians on their advisory board and their board of directors. They claim to want to give hospice patients and their families information on hospice and to make sure that standards of care are met. It sounds good on the surface but you can tell by Panzer's bizarre allegations that this organization is not on the up and up.
    Yeah , but the guy who composed the article, Matt Abbott, was the former president of the Right to Lifers and he originally wrote an article called "are hospices safe?" and he got emailed response from the two people who he quoted in the second article, which is posted at the top of this board. So i guess hospices are a potential target for the lifers.
  11. by   SharonH, RN
    Quote from camano
    Yeah , but the guy who composed the article, Matt Abbott, was the former president of the Right to Lifers and he originally wrote an article called "are hospices safe?" and he got emailed response from the two people who he quoted in the second article, which is posted at the top of this board. So i guess hospices are a potential target for the lifers.


    This Matt Abbott guy seems to be a crackpot also judging by some of his other articles. He questions whether or not the living will is a tool of the pro-euthanasia movement among other things.


    If the right-to-lifers do not want to be lumped in with this guy, they should probably distance themselves from him pronto.
  12. by   rambisisking
    Quote from SharonH, RN
    Okay, I went and did some research. This madness is not being fueled by the Right-to-Life movement but by the Hospice Patients Alliance. It is being headed by this Ron Panzer guy who is an RN. There are other nurses and physicians on their advisory board and their board of directors. They claim to want to give hospice patients and their families information on hospice and to make sure that standards of care are met. It sounds good on the surface but you can tell by Panzer's bizarre allegations that this organization is not on the up and up.
    I apoligize for my ignorance in quoting the wrong person, I was just so inflaimed :angryfire by what I read and could not believe that this kind of ignorance exsisted.....silly me .... I've lived long enough to know it runs wild espically in people who think they have the one divine connection. Hospice and all it represents holds a very dear place in my heart and I've been astonded by the fact that hospice nurses do not generally show fatigue or disgust, do not appear to be overworked or stressed. When I asked an RN at the facility my aunt was at how that was possible, she said with a smile, "This is not a job of stress and fatigue, this is a job of Love". I applied there after my aunt died. My 12 year old son, who spent a fair amount of time there with me, compared the workers at hospice to the workers at Disney Worldl He said,"They all do everything they can to take care of all of us and the smile the whole time ". I am ready to be one of them....Hope they call me

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