My 93 year old mother has been in a skilled nursing facility for almost 3 years, and is seen by an internist there periodically. She has heart problems, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, kidney issues, dementia, and squamous cell carcinoma, just to name a few, and is on approximately 18-20 daily meds. She is mobile in her wheelchair, but cannot use her walker without assistance.
The facility has sent her to the ER a number of times, where she is always given an extensive number of tests, and typically remains in the hospital for a week to 10 days. Then she comes back to the nursing home and undergoes Medicare-paid rehab for 4-6 weeks, and is then released back to private pay status, and the cycle begins again.
As a family, we do NOT want to expedite her passing, but we do not want to prolong the inevitable, and to keep putting her through all of this, not to mention the extreme costs to a bloated Medicare system.
We have the appropriate "do not resuscitate" legal documents on file, but I've come to learn that that means if her heart stops beating, then they do not resuscitate. Until that happens, they will just continue on with this process.
My father and I talked to the facility social worker about hospice for Mom, and she explained the process, and was going to "get right on it" with Mom's doctor, and get back to me. When I didn't hear from her for 2 weeks, I called and left a message, asking her to call me back. She never did, so I did not pursue it, because I did not want to appear inappropriately anxious, and I took her unresponsive-ness to me to indicate that hospice was not an option. To my knowledge, Mom does not have a terminal diagnosis.
I would appreciate any comments, thoughts, advice, etc. from the great pool of wisdom here.