Inside: Making the decision to care for a dying loved one is not easy. We are sharing our critical considerations when deciding if hospice care at home was the right choice for our family.
My husband’s grandmother came to live with us 5 months ago and now she is dying.
When my mother in law first approached me with the idea for Nana to come live with us, my internal response was quick. Of course, as I typically do, I also expressed my response to my family just as quickly.
Yes, absolutely, of course! Nana should come live with us! We would love to have her in our home and part of our immediate family. She can really get to know her great grandchildren and they her. She can go to their basketball games, read to them, and share her 92 years of wisdom. We can shower her with all the love we can give.
Fast forward 4 months, and ironically, we now find ourselves waiting for her to die.
Last month, Nana was hospitalized with pneumonia. Her chest x-rays didn’t just show the inflammation caused by the pneumonia. They revealed to us a tougher decision that had to be made. One that, unlike our previous decision, was not to be made quickly.
A large mass was seen on the x-ray, a large mass in Nana’s lungs. A very large mass. One that had not been there the last time she had a chest x-ray.
Aggressive? Yes. Treatable? No. The treatments would probably kill her more quickly than the cancer.
There was so much to consider in this much bigger decision. Should we choose to welcome Nana back and have hospice care at home? But what it boiled down to were three basic but critical consideration.
3 Critical Considerations When Choosing Hospice Care at Home
Do you have a strong stomach? Do you have a skilled poker face? Can you handle vile sights and smells without expressing your natural response to disgusting things? The hard ugly truth is that dying can be gross. No one likes to talk about the gross nasty side of life or death.
As an expecting mother, most likely no one told you that you that your adorable sweet smelling baby would create some of the most horrendous unimaginable messes in their diapers. Well, the end of life has more in common with the beginning of life that most would think.
Like you did when you became a new mom, be sure to talk to someone who has preceded you in choosing hospice care at home, someone who you trust to give you honest answers.
Related: Tips and Ideas Senior Care Givers
Is everyone in your home okay with a dead body in your house? Yes, I know that is blunt but dead bodies can be creepy. Having someone die in the home you live in can be a dramatic experience. It’s the stuff horror movies are made of. Talk about this! Talk with everyone in your family about this!
Obviously, you are not going to find any sugar coating here. I know I am being very candid and blunt. But this really is a big decision. The next critical consideration for choosing hospice care at home is one I considered too lightly. I brushed it off and did not count it as a significant factor.
Are you ready to be homebound? Can you handle not going where you want whenever you want? Nana now requires 24 hour supervision.
I can’t run out to the store and grab an ingredient I am missing for a recipe. No more quick trips to grab a gallon of milk. My husband and I have not had a date night in over a month. The kids have missed many pool days and play dates at the park.
You have to consider carefully if you are willing to make this sacrifice. Admittedly, the at home piece of hospice care at home is the hardest part for me.
Not So Critical Considerations
In addition to the BIG considerations, there are many, many others and each situation is unique in some way.
What special equipment is needed? We had to get a hospital bed, bedside commode, over the bed table, incontinence pads, adult diapers, wipes, creams…the list is long.
Are funeral arrangements made? What do you do when your loved one passes? Know what the steps are ahead of time so you are ready and don’t have to make last minute decisions at the worst time.
Do you have a support network? I hope you will consider becoming part of my support network by leaving your encouragements in the comments below. If you have chosen hospice care at home for your loved one please share your critical considerations as well.
We are holding on tightly to all the days we have left, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Nana will spend her final days in our home getting all the love we can give. While we are waiting for her to die, our prayers are for a peaceful, painless passing. We hope to bring joy to the days she has left and we will cherish every moment we are gifted.
Know some one about to make this decision? Share this post with them.
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You Have to Admit, We All Do It!