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Welcome to CareNotes. In this special section we will feature a reader's letter and provide an opportunity for an interactive exchange that will help find some answers and possible solutions to concerns. If you wish to respond to this letter, simple follow the link provided at the end of the letter and add your comments and thoughts to our CareNotes Board.

This Week's Carenote - 01/29/13

How does a family member know when it's time to contact hospice?

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Name: Mary
Location: Chicago IL
Date: 02/05/2013
Time: 10:17 PM


Please take the time to avoid hasty decisions regarding your choice of hospice provider. Relying on social workers is not sufficient. The reality is that you and your loved one are consumers purchasing a service, and the provider will make money from the transaction. In fact, the signing agent may even make a commission. If you want compassion, be certain the organization has a track record of acting compassionately. We ended up with a terrible organization that had professionals acting very inappropriately -- including disrespecting a very formal senior lder by calling them "sweetie," forgetting crucial equipment such as bedpans and laughing about the oversight, sending a de-briefer to conduct an in-depth interview while the family was still reeling from our loved one's death just an hour or two beforehand. Afterwards many nurses and friends extended their regrets at not being able to help us find a more compassionate hospice program.

Name: Cindy
Location: Evansville, IN
Date: 02/04/2013
Time: 07:17 AM


It is important for families to know that they may have to initiate the conversation about hospice; many physicians are not ready or willing to stop treatment, even when the patient is. The patient or family can call a hospice agency for guidance and the agency will work with the physician to obtain the necessary order for hospice care. As many others have already said, DO NOT wait until death is imminent to call in hospice--this type of care can make a tremendous difference for both the patient and the family during the final months of life!

Name: Chris
Location: Winter Garden, Fl
Date: 02/03/2013
Time: 09:09 AM


Thank you for your comment, Brookings, Or-My nurse- practitioner for our physician recommended hospice & called to set up the meeting. w We just started-- I got my first full night's sleep tlast night- Maybe the easing of pressure on me, or not worrying about my husband's care so much

Name: Thomas Fallon
Location: Rumford, Maine
Date: 02/03/2013
Time: 06:01 AM


Family members have to be sure what their loved one has for religious beliefs relative to their last days. They should also understand what physicians' beliefs are for the situation. I would caution that when a loved one is at the point of hospice care the situation is not good for making decisions: family members are not always thinking clearly. I suggest that your loved one and family discuss health care for his or her last days very seriously before he or she enters a nursing home.

Name: Mike Lamb
Location: Avon, MN
Date: 02/03/2013
Time: 05:44 AM


I have seen people enroll in hospice in the final days or even hours before a person's death. There is certainly benefit at that time. However I believe the patient and family can gain the most at the point when the decision not to "cure" has been reached. The hospice concept is so supportive with teams of doctors, nurses, social workers and chaplains available. A doctor will need to sign off on whether a person qualifies for the program, generally speaking a life expectancy of six months or less is the determination which is needed. If there is a question in your mind whether it is the right time or not, start asking questions of others and make an appointment with a hospice agency to begin that conversation.

Name: Marihelen Pitts-Campbell
Location: Brookings, OR
Date: 01/29/2013
Time: 01:59 PM


From being a family caregiver & listening to family caregivers in the support group I started 6 years ago, I found that as soon as a person thinks about hospice - - it is time to contact them & have them evaluate the situation. Do NOT wait until the last few days/weeks of your loved one's life. Hospice helps your loved one & YOU & your family with the last months of your time together. They made life so much more pleasant for our family for over 6 months until Mom's death. What a blessing ! Don't wait ... call & evaluate. ~  Marihelen, Brookings, OR

Name: Becky
Location: Lincolnton, NC
Date: 01/29/2013
Time: 01:42 PM


I would first talk with the Dr of the person with issues.Sometimes Doctors don't think about referring someone to Hospice and alot of Hospice Agencies now have a Palliative Program which takes clients who are not terminal yet.I would call the Hospice Agency in your area and talk with someone there and they can direct you properly.

Location: Maplewood MN
Date: 01/29/2013
Time: 12:20 PM


Doctor is the one will get advice when it come to stage of needing hospice. Doctor will discuss with family and if answer yes. The hospice will contact patien/family. That's how I got my mother into the program now.

Name: anonymous
Location: orlando fl
Date: 01/28/2013
Time: 06:14 PM


My father has been with me for 7 months and I have to take care of FAM 24 hours a day 7 days a week because of this I'm unable to work i have to feed him every 3 hours and he had a stroke and because of this an I was wondering how can I get paid for this



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