Friday, August 6, 2010

Hospice medical care for dying patients: newyorker.com

I just read this article last night. It is deeply insightful and moving, though not for the faint of heart. If you want a realistic and well-researched account of what we all need to face (at some time or another, but sooner is better) please read Hospice medical care for dying patients: newyorker.com

8 comments:

Truth Ferret said...

Last year I went through a
six-weeks training through Hospice. I only wish that I would have had that information when my mom was going through the dying process. I was fortunate to have one of the nurses for training who was my mom's nurse. We exchanged memories and hugs.

deb said...

I'll read this Karen.
I was a volunteer at out local hospital a few years ago, on the verge of wanting to do this but wondering if I would be so overwhelmed.

I now know that in a few years when I actually have some sort of a predictable schedule with the kids, this is where I want to be. I don't know why.

Karen said...

I've intuitively known what this writer is saying, I guess from watching enough cancer patients fight too long. I just don't know what I would do if it was my family member or even myself. I can see how the will to live will wipe out every other rational consideration. I have nothing but compassion for these families. Such painful choices. I am glad to have read this and the supporting research on the value of letting go.
Thanks Karen. Always valuable...

Karen said...

I've intuitively known what this writer is saying, I guess from watching enough cancer patients fight too long. I just don't know what I would do if it was my family member or even myself. I can see how the will to live will wipe out every other rational consideration. I have nothing but compassion for these families. Such painful choices. I am glad to have read this and the supporting research on the value of letting go.
Thanks Karen. Always valuable...

Ellen said...

This is a most informative article Karen. I bookmarked it to read through as it is very long. I am currently on page 4...I felt I had to let you know that I am glad your posted this. With my mother who has FTD I will face at some point what to do. My mom sadly did not leave any information or wishes of DNR. I am meeting next week to understand and discuss what may someday come up of decisions to make for my mom's behalf.

We have a family friend who's 38 year old daughter is fighting for her life from a rare colon/rectal cancer that went to some of her lymph glands. She has two young girls under the age of 7. Her mother comes to their house daily to help and while doing her chemo her mother took her daily to the 40 minute drive to and from the hospital. I hate to think she won't make it. I want to believe in a miracle remission...but this cancer is a beast. She is just finished now 4 weeks of radiation...will it have helped? I don't know. Reading the article made me think about when you stop and when you keep going. It is age that will stop and let life decide it's fate? Or to keep trying...How do we know what to do? These are decisions best talked about before the pain/fear/emotional turmoil hit all involved. But sometimes we may not have that.
I will read the rest of the article today...
My 24 year old daughter is very inquisitive. At one point she took Doula training to fully understand the needs of a pregnant woman and what a doula does to help. A year later she did Hospice training..she wanted to understand what she could do to help someone that would need or chose hospice care. How she will deal with either of these in her life I do believe I would want her there..she has such care and love...and both birth and death need this. A hand to hold, to softly rub and eyes to see that person..without anything else but tenderness.
I wrote on and on...but I needed to Karen....

Ellen said...

AARRGGG...I just wrote (I guess too long a comment!) darn. It all went away...darn. I should email my comment because this was such a good article you sent the link to. Thank you Karen for this. I just am sorry that my whole comment disappeared...
It gave me pause to think about in regards to my mom and to my family. Much food for thought...and the choices we make and are given. I hope you have an email I can send to ...

amanda said...

I agree, it is a wonderfully and candidly honestly written article. I had read it when it was published recently. I only hope it sparks that all important conversation I find many of my patients have avoided. Now their family members are left to make decisions blindly....

Gabriele said...

Thank you for posting this link. It took me two evenings to read it.

I realize after reading this article how fortunate we are that Jack is part of Texas Children's Hospital. When his cancer progressed so shockingly quickly last month, the doctors were very compassionate as they explained to us our options and their recommendations. It's such a series of horific decisions to face and then make. The hospital has a whole team set up to arrange for hospice care, should this be the decision made.

They also made sure we understood that we were still free to pursue more treatment at any point, if we chose. Hospice would still care for him if we were at home for the treatment.

We've been home a week and Jack is such a happier boy. Hospitals stink (his word) and we all know there's no place like home.