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  1. Thanks so much for this article. It is so true that we as health care professionals feel the need to “fix” everything, especially with loved one. I appreciate this vital information!

    March 29, 2012
    • Terre Mirsch #

      Thank you, Margaret, for sharing your thoughts. As health care professionals it is challenging, but important, to be family rather than clinician when family members are ill. Home care and hospice services can provide relief from the professional care coordination that we as nurses are inclined to take on and provide us with the emotional support and guidance that we need. I also found myself in the role of nurse and family- having someone take over the nursing role was a tremendous relief. Thank you for following Caring with Confidence.

      March 30, 2012
  2. rosedeam #

    i recently lost my husband and my children are upset for i got him on hospice and they think they took his life because he was not dying and was talking and no signs of death

    May 22, 2012
    • We are very sorry to learn of your loss and the difficulties that you and your children are experiencing during your time of grief. No, hospice does not give people medications that cause death. This common misconception refers to the practice of euthanasia and is illegal in the United States. This practice also conflicts with the philosophy of hospice, which is to help people live each day as fully and comfortably as possible. Medications used in hospice care bring comfort and relief of pain and other symptoms, not an early death. Your husband’s physician likely recommended or certified the need for hospice care because of the serious nature of his illness. Ensuring his comfort and providing you and your family with additional support was a priority.

      Even when someone is on hospice care, it is not uncommon to be shocked by the seeming suddenness of their death. Changes and signs of slow decline are often missed when we care for someone on a daily basis. While many people who receive hospice services experience a slow, predictable decline before death, there are many illnesses and circumstances that do cause a sudden death. During our vast experiences caring for many people facing end of life, we have seen some people die suddenly from a heart attack, stroke, blot clot, or some other natural medical event that is a consequence of an illness. Others experience a long and protracted process of decline that can also bring distress for family members who fear their loved one is suffering.

      Loss is hard, and having more questions than answers can make the process more challenging. You may find the blog post Dispelling hospice myths or our Useful Tools section helpful. We will also continue to address the important questions that you raise in future blog posts. Additionally, you may want to contact your hospice program, discuss your concerns, and seek support from the bereavement program.

      Thank you for following Caring with Confidence and for sharing your story. It is a validation for others that may be experiencing the same fears or worries.
      Terre and Val

      May 24, 2012
  3. Thanks for this very good article.

    That’s true in our profession we can also become an emotional chain of care for our patients.

    Sad moments like this one require members of the Hospice Team & Family Members to be there & family members to act together.

    It is a strong way to decrease pain & distress.

    June 17, 2012
    • Thank you, Beth, for sharing your thoughts. Indeed, when family members and the hospice team work together pain and distress is markedly decreased. Trying to fulfill dual roles- as the family caregiver and as the professional- when a family member is ill to difficult and may add to one’s stress. As Barbara described, allowing hospice team members to assume the professional role while giving permission to be family enables everyone to get the much needed support they deserve during a difficult time. Thank you for following Caring with Confidence.

      June 18, 2012

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