A recent study reports that medical errors are now the 3rd leading cause of death in the US behind cancer and heart disease. These statistics may change if the patient, and their family know what to do to be part of the team.
This blog represents my experiences and my opinion only - often at the bedside. All posts are short enough for easy reading - therefore I couldn't possibly share all there is to share. Thank you for visiting.
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Wednesday, June 5, 2013
End of Life Care(ing)
End of Life
“He died”.The words shook me to the core though I knew
it was going to happen.“He” was an
elderly man who was in hospice after having a stroke and being hospitalized.He had Alzheimer’s and a family and friends
who loved him.
In the past few weeks, I spent many hours on the
phone with Bill (name is changed) who was his primary caretaker.I suggested Bill for the job when an out of
town colleague asked if I knew anyone who could care for her uncle. Bill is a professional person who studied
and worked as an occupational therapist.
Bill is smart, caring and has a gentle soul and someone I would
completely trust to take this role as caretaker seriously. He became a wonderful advocate, protector and friend. He was happy, and became close friends with his
client and the family he served. Bill
often thanked me for this position of trust.It was I who should be thanking Bill for being the person I knew he would be.
Getting the call that his
client has died meant a sad ending to a few years that Bill showed
appreciation for but at the end, he shared the turmoil that he, and the family were going through.
His client, who was not in a
position to make decisions for himself, had someone who would make the
decisions for him.But neither she, nor
Bill knew what his client wanted at the end of his life.
The people in the hospital,
and then in hospice held back food and water.
Bill would often tell me that he was frustrated and couldn’t believe
that this was OK.If this is what his
client wanted, no one would be in a position to react, but no one knew if this
was OK.Depriving a patient of food and
water and keeping him heavily sedated may seem to some as the most humane way
to allow a person to die.It didn’t feel
right to Bill.Each day he would tell
me that he was going to learn the wishes of all his family and share his wishes
with them.This way, there would be no questions
and the turmoil and energy that this family, including Bill is feeling in
making these decisions, could be better spent on loving each other and grieving
the loss.What a gift we can give each