Can my grandfather (90) who is fairly healthy but thinks he may have a fatal stroke soon contact Hospice?


Can they help him? My 90 year old grandfather lives in a continuing care community. His wife died 7 months ago. He recently had a TIA and is scheduled for a cardiac stent in 2 weeks. He is fiercely independent.

He thinks he had another TIA the other day but as far as I know has not told any family. He tells a friend of mine a lot of things he never shared with his daughters. (She's an honorary daughter). He refused to call 911 and placed his DNR on his refrigerator. My friend feels unsure what to do since she knows things no one else knows. And now she is telling me in confidence.

I don’t know at what point we stop respecting his wishes. I know mini-strokes can cause dementia in a person. I’m going to call him today (he lives in another city from me) and talk to him and see if he will tell me what’s really going on. I don’t think he will.

I am wondering, if a person is pretty much in sound mind but still thinks he will die within weeks, can he contact hospice himself? Would they be able to do anything for him? I think my grandfather wants to die peacefully and naturally but he is all alone and I’m not sure it is possible for us to do such a thing alone. I don’t know what his doctors have told him but I wonder if he’s hiding his fears from him. Or maybe he is just telling my friend all his fears and worries because he trusts her.

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I'm confused about the two messages he's sending - preparing with a DNR but also agreeing to a stent. My friend is sworn to secrecy, so I won't comment directly to Grandad about his feelings. I did learn he is also talking to his pastor he's known for about 40 years, which makes me feel better.

I am going to reach out and call and maybe drive over on Saturday and if he brings it up himself, I'll mention hospice and ask a little about what is going on. I'm also going to be there for my friend, who is very close to him (he's been like a father to her) and who I think may be feeling more alarmed than he is about what the future holds.
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Did your friend say how your grandfather's attitude was when he told her about his possible TIA? It sounds like he's prepared to die, if he didn't want to call 911 and has a DNR included in his advance medical directive. He lost his wife. He's 90. Maybe he's ready to die. However, the mention of the cardiac stent is interesting. If he's willing to have the operation, does that mean he wants to keep on living, or does he hope to die under anesthesia? Or is he just rolling the dice and waiting to see what happens?

Can you go and see him and gently question him about these issues? You didn't say whether your friend has been sworn to secrecy, and you're not supposed to know about any of this, but maybe you can bring up his upcoming operation and see what he says. I would think that if he wants hospice care, his doctors can help him get it.
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Let him contact hospice and see how it goes. No harm in that. The operation for the stent may be good for his heart but the anesthesia may be very bad for his brain. At advanced age the potential risks to his cognition are very high. Hospice evaluation could help with the decision. They would have to get medical info from the doctor that others do not appear to have now.
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