End of Life Care

I just came across a blog that had people comment about their fears and then asked others to respond with encouraging words. I felt this afforded me the opportunity to write about something I see quite often in LTC: fear and or acceptance of death and dying. I can’t express enough how very important it is that families discuss (more importantly put it in print) what they want to happen during end of life care! So many times families are not on the same page!!

 

I would just like to put my 2 cents in about suffering at the end of life. I have worked in LTC (long-term care/nursing homes) as a nurse for the last 12+ years. It is of up most importance to me that residents (that is what we call patients in a nursing home setting) and their family members understand the options available to them to keep comfortable when they are terminally ill. The need can be days, weeks, months or even years! Our house Dr has a list of orders that we put in place for comfort: pain meds, suctioning, different mattresses etc. This is pretty much the norm for hospice care as well. I urge everyone to be open and honest with loved one’s about what you see as “keeping comfortable” . It is so much harder to make these choices in the moment. Another great tool is: 5 wishes! Basically it is a form that you fill out to let everyone know what you want for end of life care. I know there are many reasons people fear death and dying but I feel that it is far less scary for those that make plans ahead of time!

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