Ivyhouse Asked July 2011

What should I know about COPD and end of life, before calling hospice?

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Mom just turned 90 and is living in an apartment in my husband's my home. She had been diagnosed with COPD several years ago. She is a chronic smoker. She has a lot of shortness of breath and a lot of mucus (which she thinks is from allergies). About a month ago she caught a cold and has never quite bounced back. She has a huge aversion to going to the doctor. Our family doctor is aware of all her symptoms and health issues. I am thinking of calling our doctor Monday morning and approaching the idea of using Hospice care for her. Have any of you had a similar dilemma? She is very resistant to going in to her doctor...

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My mother has Alzhemiers and has just recently lost her ability to walk. She also has a blood clot in one of her legs. Thus, her doctor just recently called hospice to take care of her and are only expecting her to live for six months or less.
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debi1 Oct 2014
Ivy....this is exactly the question I was going to post on this forum. My Dad is a caregiver for a local company and recently had to quit due to his emphaseyma / COPD. He also has a drinking problem...although quite managable as he is disciplined about it. I know...sounds strange. He lives next door in an in-law apartment but we need to plan for the "new" reality and have no idea how to do that. He refuses to live with either my sister or myself. He still drives and gets around with his portable oxygen. We are not sure how to plan as we have no idea how long this "phase" will last.
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Ivyhouse Jul 2011
Hospice is proving to be the answer to very difficult questions. This compassionate group is moving swiftly, gently and quietly. Mom still doesn't know it is hospice; the nurse told me if any of them are asked by her they have to tell her. I agreed and said the same goes for me. We have met with the nurse and the home health aide (Mom has actually consented to let Tera sponge bathe her once a week~she always refuses my offer) and I have met with the chaplain who is just wonderful (Mom feels no need for her at the moment~also, Mom is Catholic but the chaplain represents no one religion). Just have the social worker yet to see. The nurse has respected my wishes not to rush at Mom from all sides; to ease into everything. Just received the urgent care pack of meds to be placed in the refrigerator. I am almost overwhelmed by the immediate care and attention to detail where before I was jus overwhelmed. I am grateful.
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BridgetW Jul 2011
Ivy,
You know you did the right thing and sometimes you have to make decisions. You still may get some push back, but that is what the Hospice Group can help you with. Breathing issues can probably be very scary and maybe your mother is scared and ready for the whole house to get help? So glad she has not lit the fuse of fireworks yet. Keep us posted on how the meeting went.
Blessings,
Bridget
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Ivyhouse Jul 2011
I AM BLESSED! Placed a call to our family doctor this morning; a few short hours later a nurse from hospice contacted me. I told my mom that comfort care was coming; then waited for the fireworks. There were none...I know she is sick. The nurse is on her way now.
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Ivyhouse Jul 2011
Ah Dear Rebecca, I'm so sorry to hear about you having to deal with this, too. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my query. As with everyone's case, mine is very complicated. My mom has spent many, many years taking care of family members in nursing homes and I can understand her feelings about that; if I can have her here at home...all the better. At this point, she is barely smoking so I don't think that will be an issue if I can get her some in-home help. She is also an alcoholic...sigh. She has an inhaler, but doesn't use it. She is a very strong-willed and proud lady. On the one hand she doesn't want to be a burden, but on the other she refuses most help. Now is the time for me to make the executive decision with as much compassion and care that I can muster.
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I have personal experience with COPD.My breathing difficulties are partly genetic and largely the result of being exposed to second-hand smoke throughout my childhood and teen years. I do not smoke but understand how hard it is for someone of your mother's generation to break the habit. When I become very ill, I need an enormous amount of rest in an atmosphere without toxins. I think your idea of approaching your doctor is excellent. I do not know of any hospice that would allow your mother to smoke. Perhaps a long term respiratory care center would be an option. I do know that not being able to breath is agonizing whether you are my age (56) or your mother's age. Best wishes and please stay in touch. Rebecca P.S. Also, what type of medication is your mom taking for breathing? Does she use a nebulizer? Ask her doctor for help in these areas.
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