Hospice care was something new to me. I thought it dealt with comfort at end of life. I didn't realize that there were so many decisions to make. I hope that my experience with hospice will make your experience easier to understand. First of all, I thought it was for the horrible diseases that you know are terminal. I never thought of Alzheimer's as terminal. I thought they just lost their memory. Well, hospice was decided eventually for my dad. He had already been through hell. Well, enough of that.
I met with the hospice nurse and had to make arrangements for payment and it is covered by Medicare. Then came the questions and my answers. What was wrong with dad that made him terminal? Well, his stroke and found out Alzheimer's. Did I want him on a feeding tube? Well, thank heaven my dad had that covered in his advance directive. What about an IV to keep him hydrated? Well, that was a different story. Finally, I asked the nurse if that wasn't starving him to death? She told me calmly that it was letting nature take its course. She told me that many people would say that is what I was doing but before modern medicine that as called letting nature take its course.
Then came questions about did I want my dad to be put on oxygen. I asked if that wasn't just keeping the person alive as well. She told me that yes it was until the family decided if they wanted to donate the organs. I was so confused with all the decisions. Did I want the chaplain to contact me to care for me? I thought the care was for dad, not me. Then after all the questions we went and seen my dad. I don't know if it was a look of fright or thank god you are doing what I want. She took his blood pressure. Checked his body for any bruises and open areas and then told him she would be back on Monday. She asked me if I wanted to have aides come down twice a week to give dad a bath and I said yes as I told her that he had urine burn on the front and diaper rash on the rear. He loved his extra baths. I bet he was almost healed up when he passed.
I was told that hospice can be for up to six months. I didn't want dad to suffer anymore. The nurse made a very hard decision easier. They ask a lot of questions but it is worth what they do. I know I could do the job they do.