Hi, I'm Alice. My friend has stage 4 lung cancer. She has received treatment for almost three years and the cancer has spread to what seems like everywhere. Her doctor has advised Hospice to get her pain under control before treatment continues. At least that is her story she is sticking with.
Hospice has her on morphine now and shopping for funeral homes.
I have to say I have never liked our local hospice. I have sat in on meetings, went along on home visits and have worked around them. I have yet to be impressed. I am in shock that my friend chose the service.
I would appreciate any information or thoughts that could change my outlook on this organization.
You hear nothing but good about Hospice but my experience with them with my wife is mixed. They were great in the beginning...all the meds she needed to get her pain (from gallbladder cancer) controlled to her anxiety and a few other things she suffered through. They took some worry off of me so I could work as I HAD to keep working so I could keep my job.
I had reservations near the end. When she got near the end they kept her totally out of it with morphine and other stuff, thinking she was in pain. Sometimes she just liked to moan. Said it made her feel better. They thought it meant pain. I felt, and still do, that they took some time away from us as she was all but comatose the last 4 days.
Again however, at the end, they took care of the funeral home contact and pick up.
All in all I was glad they were there but feel they could have done a bit better for her/us at the end.
I had a wonderful experience with Hospice, when a dear friend had lost his love affair with alcohol. As part of a group of close friends (he was an amazing musician) we had all taken our turn taking care of him, but we could not get that bottle out of his mouth.
In the last month of his life, he had not showered, shaved or combed his har. He had no clothes to wash, as he had swollen up so big. His skin was deep yellow with jaundice. He looked like a homeless person, and smelled like, well, not very good.
The end came when he lost control of himself, and I found him sitting in his own waste, with the couch cushions thrown out in the front yard, and replaced with plywood. I called 911, and followed along to the hospital with him. I had become his medical power of attorney (very important) and made the decisions for him. Hospice provided his care once he had been determined that he was at his end.
By then he had been scrubbed down, and spent his last days clean and tucked into clean sheets, in a room that he could see the ocean from. For some reason, that meant so much to me...to be clean and in a clean bed.
With the first set of drugs, his mind was cleared enough to laugh and chat about things, but that eventually gave way (4 days later) to Hospices care, which led him out of life in comfort and peace.
Funny little side note, after taking turns sitting at his side, day and night, not wanting him to pass alone, a good nurse told us that some people want to pass alone, and it was true for Bruce...within 20 minutes of breaking our vigil, and going home for some sleep, he passed gently.
Hospice was wondeful, I would always recommend them based on my positive experience during such a sad time.
Hi Alice, I'm sorry your friend is so poorly. I would say that its important for the hospice to keep your friend and interested parties fully informed of their policies and milestones for care. When my father was admitted to hospice, I was not in the country and only arrived in his final hours. I was distressed by the state he had deteriorated to as by that point they were withdrawing all but pain suppression, and I'm not sure that either he nor my mother had been made aware of their policy. I was ready to go ape-crazy at the staff when I first got to see him because as someone who had walked in unprepared, it just looked like neglect. Make sure the Hospice staff have the time to fully explain things to both of you if you are going to attend with your friend, so you can know what kind of care your friend is agreeing to.