re:Who is responsible for discussing End-of-Life Treatment Options
My most difficult experience with this situation was not one I could handle as a nurse, although there have been many times I would discuss with the family, then discuss with the doctor, then back to family, back to doctor, until they were able to come to an understanding. My father was the patient, his doctor, just a few years younger, had put him on his first blood pressure medication decades ago, and had see him through meningitis, a few broken bones, and all the ravages of heart disease. As I was the medical professional in the family, my dad would tell me what he wanted and expect me to deal with it. My mother, in the early stages of Alzheimer's Disease, wanted everything done for him; she wasn't prepared to give him up without a fight. The doctor, who saw my dad as one of the patients who had stood by him since he started practicing medicine, just knew that dad would rally and we would not have to talk about this. My father, wise man that he was, refused to go to the hospital again. He died in his sleep, in his own bed, in his favorite pajamas. That's what he wanted. I wish I could claim credit for making it happen like that. I do have the satisfaction of knowing he got what he wanted. I believe there's a special place in heaven for people who have died peacefully in their own beds, almost like they had completed their earthly projects, so could rest until they died.