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My father is in the ICU with late stage CHF, sepsis and pneumonia. We have him on dialysis on the hopes it would help give him room to heal but problems keep popping up and it's to the point that all the doctors are suggesting palliative care.


My father is still cognitve. We are Vietnamese but I am not proficient enough in Vietnamese to explain to him that we have done everything that we can do and that there is nothing left we can do and to also explain he should not fear death. He made mistakes in his life but everyone loves him and forgives him.
My father is fiercely afraid of death. I do not want him to be in that mindset when we start palliative care.


He is Buddhist and I think having a Vietnamese Buddhist monk come to talk to him would help him be at peace in coming to terms with death.


Are there any other suggestions I can do to help my father get him into the right mindset? Thank you

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Ally, I'm impressed with your respect for your father and the language issues and wanting him to be aware of his situation.    

I've just checked and found several sources of Vietnamese populations near Houston, Texas:

https://www.bing.com/search?q=Vietnaese+communities+near+Houston%2C+Texas&form=IENTHT&pc=EUPP_DCJB&mkt=en-us&httpsmsn=1&msnews=1&rec_search=1&refig=e39092474a834bbe8ad5775d25023107&sp=-1&pq=vietnaese+communities+near+houston%2C+texa&sc=1-40&qs=n&sk=&cvid=e39092474a834bbe8ad5775d25023107

Sometimes these long URLs don't work well, so try "Vietnamese communities near Houston, Texas".   These are some cited sources (I got confused copying them and going back and forth, but they're all Vietnamese American facilities).  

There are several possible sources of assistance:

Vietnamese American Community Center
9530 Antoine Dr, Houston, TX 77086
(713) 320-7555

Vietnamese American Community Services
2120 Sul Ross St, Houston, TX 77098
Phone: (713) 527-9000

Vietnamese Civic Center
Civic Center
11360 Bellaire Blvd 900, Houston ·
Phone:   (281) 498-8438

Vietnamese American Chamber   (of Commerce??)
9750 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX 77036
Phone: (832) 409-1233

If I remember correctly, there are various sects within Buddhism, and w/o knowing any more, I'm not sure how to target search for a Buddhist temple in or around Houston, so I just searched on Buddhist temples near Houston.  These are the hits I got:

https://www.bing.com/search?q=Buddhist%20temples%20near%20Houston%2C%20Texas&qs=n&form=QBRE&sp=-1&pq=buddhist%20temples%20near%20houston%2C%20texa&sc=2-35&sk=&cvid=E3F3ACA515DF4E5ABC837E3919BB7023

The map on the hit page shows 5 temples in the Houston area. 

Perhaps someone in your family knows the specific sect to contact?


I'm sorry for your family and the trials you're facing, but hope that you find someone in your father's faith who can comfort and console him.
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Thanks for supplying this information. Very kind of you to do for the OP.
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Hospitals usually offer certified interpreters. Ask for one certified in Vietnamese. Even if you were fluent in Vietnamese, family should not serve as interpreters. In that moment, you should be his daughter, not his interpreter.
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I wish him luck. Our experience has been dismal at that. My grandma does not speak much English. Every time a hospital or the SNF tries to get an interpreter, they can't communicate with her. They end up calling me at 3 in the morning.

The problem is that many languages are not monolithic. "Vietnamese" is a convenience that encompasses many "dialects" which are in reality separate languages that are not very mutually intelligible. The older the person is the more likely they are speaking something unintelligible from what has become standardized. Until very recently every village or town from Asia to Europe to Africa spoke their own language.
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My dad was afraid of the big C,, cancer.. yup that got him... He was afraid of death, I think... really the Big C... equals death, right?

He is Buddhist and I think having a Vietnamese Buddhist monk come to talk to him would help him be at peace in coming to terms with death. IF THIS IS WHAT COMES TO MIND, THEN DO THIS... IT WILL BE GOOD FOR HIM.. DO NOT QUESTION THIS...It will be good for you too.

My parent's priest came to us in his street clothing.. nothing fancy or showy... It was good.

TAlk about happy times, his past, what he liked as a child, what you appreciate in him, laugh, music, dance...food.. give him what he likes... make him happy.. do not dwell on his condition so much.. he knows.

Palliatvie care/hospice is for the both of you, you do not need to get him into a car/taxi... nurses and docs come to him...yo do not need to physically take him... that is a comfort knowing that.. They have a 24 hour call number usually, and leave the palliatvie care messages for your nurses/doc... IT IS OKAY..DO THIS FOR YOU, HIM, AND YOR FAMILY...There is no harm in this whatsoever.
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The hospital will have a chaplaincy team. Ask to speak to one of them; I'm sure they will be able to help.

But. Your father is still cognitive. How he approaches this stage of his life is for him to decide. I sympathise with your wishing him to find peace of mind and come to terms with his situation, but if he wants to keep fighting that is his right.

If the doctors are suggesting palliative care but because of language barriers they're only suggesting it to you and not to your father, they need to get themselves a specialist translator and stop expecting you to handle this extremely difficult and technical conversation. Grrrr!

Is the rest of the family being supportive? How are you all doing?
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You do not have to "hire" anyone. Contact Hospice. They will have people that will talk to your dad, to you, to the rest of the family.
Hospice has Chaplains but I am sure that they could also find, if they do not happen to have one on staff a Buddhist monk.
Hospice is paid through Medicare, Medicaid and other insurance so you do not have to "pay" them it is billed just like any other medical service.
Either the hospital will serve as his "Hospice home" or they may transfer him to a Hospice facility or even to his home if that is his wish and possible. Any place he will be kept comfortable.
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In my opinion, don't even tell him. I doubt anyone could tell him anything in any language that will allay his fear, unless it's to tell him that he's going to get well. I'd go with that. Many people would want to know if they're dying. Maybe your father is not in that category. I think his sensibilities should be respected.
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Zelda53 Dec 2019
This is what we did. When my mom was placed under hospice care, age 90 with vascular dementia, we didn't discuss death. A few weeks before she said, "I wish I could talk about my death but I don't want to hear it". At another time recently she said she was afraid of dying. So we just added hospice and carried on as usual. She lasted about two weeks after that.
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I would send someone from his faith to speak to him. Contact a local Buddhist community in your area. Do you know which type of Buddhism he follows? There are different beliefs.

You might even want to contact a professor at a nearby university that teaches a course on world religions to explain the differences to you if they don’t mind speaking to you. Then you could select the sect of Buddhism that would be most suitable for your father.

I wish the very best for your family during this difficult situation.
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Yes, since he fears death, someone from his faith would be best to communicate this news to him and perhaps help him through it.
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I think you should see if you can find someone to help you interpret. Do you live in an area with a large Vietnamese community? Is there a Monastery near by? I've lived in two cities where there wasn't a particularly large Buddhist population but yet they had pretty impressive Monastery complexes. The one by where I live now is like a little piece of Thailand once you go behind the wall. If so, they might be able to help. Monks do stuff like that.
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Your suggestions are good and prompted me to search for Vietnamese populations and service organizations.   Thanks for that insightful response.
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Do you know a Monk you can call upon? If not ask the Social Worker or pastoral care at the hospital for a referral. They should have a list of different Spiritual guidance providers for various faiths.
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If you have access to such a person then I think that is a wonderful idea, asking if there is a doctor or nurse who is fluent in the language and also well versed in palliative care would also be a good option. Either way I'd want to meet with the person first to be sure everyone is on the same page about what they were going to say.
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