Can and will Hospice help if the patient doesn't want anyone to touch him but his wife?


My friend's husband had a severe stroke 11 years ago. She has been his sole caregiver since. Now that his overall health has declined, he's 86 and she's 80, my friend is looking for some help. Problem is, her hubby gets angry at her if anyone else attempts to help. He glares at her, crosses his arms, and kicks. Can Hospice be of any help in this type of situation? He's total care now and in a hospital bed after a UTI, surgery, and acquiring MERSA.

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Trained and experienced caregivers know not to take their patients' undesirable behaviors personal. With cognitive decline, patients may develop behaviors that are challenging, and even dangerous to caregivers. The focus is safety and comfort for the patient, as well as for the caregiver. The wife deserves a break, and should be commended for her dedicated care. It's common for patients to badger and berate their caregivers. They manipulate and don't take the caregiver's best interest into consideration. It may be time for the wife to step down, and let others care for her husband. If the husband qualifies for Hospice Care, the team will take over his care and his medical decisions. Their focus is on palliative care for the patient, and emotional support for the family. If he does not qualify for Hospice Care, the wife may have to make decisions for her husband, that he may not agree with. Losing control of her husband's care may be a factor for her as well. As long as the husband is hospitalized, your friend should take her own well being into consideration, and take a break. There is no written law on how many visits, or for how long, the visits should be.
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Reply to Cbukkit

Thank you all for your insight, suggestions, and support. I will share with my friend what you have suggested. I hope it works. My friend took care of both her parents as well as her hub's parents. She is a loving, caring, and giving person - so much so that I believe it is working against her in this situation.
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Reply to happyjack

lynina, you are so right.

My own Dad was easy going but I wanted him to choose a caregiver that he felt he would like to be in the house 8 hours during the day on a regular basis. The other shifts Dad didn't mind just as long as someone was in the house with him. It was interesting, out of all the caregivers the Agency sent out, it was the caregiver that my Mom had shooed out of the house weeks earlier as Mom didn't want strangers in the house.

Both my Dad and the caregiver had grown up on farms. The caregiver would even help Dad outside trimming the landscaping, etc. And she would take Dad over to see my Mom who was now living in long-term-care and the caregiver would help feed her lunch. Mom never realized this same woman was the one she had shooed out of the house.

Dad didn't want to take showers, then finally the weekend regular caregiver, another person my Dad really liked, she put her hands on her hips and said "Mr. Bob, I raised a houseful of boys, there isn't anything I haven't seen". It got Dad laughing so hard that he gave in to the shower. After that, no problems.
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Reply to freqflyer

If hospice is willing, just keep trying different caregivers. I witnessed my dad refuse personal care from a multitude of people. Then, a new one showed up one day and for whatever reason, he was completely comfortable with them! There is definitely a chemistry to this especially when the patient is resistant and when you find the right one, it is magic!
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Reply to lynina2

How about pallative care ?
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Reply to Betsysue2002

You would be amazed at what a well trained CNA can do.
The Nurses, CNA's, Social Workers have seen it all. They have dealt with difficult patients and difficult families.
All you (she) can do is make the call, get them in and see what happens over the course of a month or so.
Do not expect an overnight change, things may take time. The husband has to get used to a routine as does the wife.
Maybe when Hospice CNA is scheduled it would be the perfect time for your friend to go visit with the wife, sit and have a cup of coffee or tea so she is occupied while the CNA does her or his job. Obviously when the nurse is there or the doctor she would want to be there to ask and answer any questions.
It is worth the phone call to see if this would help both of them
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Reply to Grandma1954

I don't wish to sound callous, but if the wife takes the simple precaution of leaving the room when other caregivers are there to help the husband, won't it be a bit difficult for him to glare at her? It will also be easier for the professionals to engage his attention and win his compliance if she isn't there for him to kick off about.

If I were you, I should counsel her to harden her heart and make herself scarce.
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Reply to Countrymouse

So, happy, he is being forced to endure help from others besides his wife since he’s in the hospital, right? So he is able to cope - she can let him stick with that going forward. Let her know the importance of not letting him be discharged solely to her at home, she must state she’s not able to do it on her own. Then the care will be doctor-ordered, and maybe it won’t be too long to ride out any grief he gives her. She’s done a saintly job for 11 years, and we can’t help if he realizes that or not. She is not responsible for his sickness or his aging, nature is! She’s not there to fix it, just be by his side... while whatever qualified professionals do what they do. Good luck to your friend, she’s got a good friend in you.
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Reply to Zdarov

Sorry but Hospice no longer has the 6 months to live criteria. Someone explained it very well earlier but can't remember the wording. The husband may have some Dementia from the stroke. He may not look at his wife and see that she has aged. If no Dementia than maybe a doctor can tell him he is older and so is his wife and she can no longer care for him. Give a chose, NH or a caregiver. Bet he opts for the caregiver.
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Reply to JoAnn29

happyjack, is it that your friend's husband doesn't want a "female" caregiver to help him? If that is the case, professional caregiver Agencies do have male caregivers. It would be great if the caregiver had the same interest as the husband.

I wonder if your friend could tell her husband that at her age there is 40% chance that she would die from all that is required of her? Those are not good odds. Let him mull over that for awhile. Then your friend needs to start learning to say "sorry, I can't possibly do that, I am too tired".

Hospice can only be recommended by the patient's doctor and only if the patient has 6 months to live. Hospice is not hands-on per say. Their time with the patient is limited as they have other Hospice patients to see during the day. A nurse will come to check vitals once or twice a week.... a bath aide will come to give hubby a bed bath... a volunteer will come to spend "talk time" with hubby which he might refuse. So, it wouldn't give your friend much of a break.

If your friend and her husband can budget to pay for a caregiver, be it 4 hours or 8 hours, that would give some relief. Don't be surprised if your friend says "no" to going out to lunch, she would be too tired from all the years of caregiving. My last parent passed over a year ago, and I still haven't recovered and here I was not hands-on. I can't imagine how exhausted your friend would be. I still say "no" to going out.
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Reply to freqflyer