Is there a point that calling in hospice is too early?

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I told my Mama today about considering Hospice. She did very well. I told her if for nothing else to do it for me. She agreed. I told her they would help her live comfortably .....they were not just there to help her die. She wants all the testing to stop, the nurse asked to do one more chest xray and blood work next week and then we would discuss hospice..didn't really understand why only one more but I agreed and tomorrow I will ask my mom if one more is ok.Her veins are so tore up everytime the take blood it just leave horrible places. I asked the nurse why they were doing them so often and she said to just make sure nothing else was going on and if they find something they might be able to give her something to help. She is for sure in heart failure that we know and not the early stages either. I still do not understand completely, but if my mama agrees I figure one more is ok. The doctor said she was very close to needing hospice but not quite yet..again after the next blood work and xray we will make that decision. I do not want to wait until she is completely bedridden I think all the help we can get is good. Right? Any comfort measures they can take is good. Her legs are still pretty swollen they stopped PT because she just does not have the energy nor breath to do anything. She cannot use her walker any longer only the wheelchair. She is coughing up stuff..stuff that doesn't seem to come up easy. and her blood work is still low they are not sure why that is happening and why they havent' been able to fix it. Is there a point that calling in hospice is too early? The head nurse is the one that asked if I had considered it. I just do not want to wait too long. Why do you think the doctor wants to wait ? What would be the drawback of that. The social worker said the nursing home deals with hospice all the time so I don't think that is an issue.

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I called hospice for mom's congestive heart failure. Her condition actually improved because of the intensive care they were able to provide and her medication adjustments. She has now been released from hospice but I expect they will be called in again at some point. That is not the usual case, of course, but I agree it is usually never too early.
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The nursing home has already agreed to my mama's request to no more hospital trips. I agree with the doctors treating and stabilizing.
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Go with your gut. Hospice made my Dad's last few months more comfortable and they assisted me in stopping the nursing home and doctors from transporting him back and forth to hospitals and running endless tests that kept him and our family stressed out. There comes a time to let nature take its natural course. They helped make his death dignified, peaceful and pain-free. They will also be a great support to you. They were really a blessing.
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I don't think it can hurt. You can call them and let the make an assessment or consult for you. Don't know if they can access medical records; but you can always request doctor or request thru medical records to give you records access and then let hospice preview. The worst that can happen, is Hospice tells you that you can wait a little longer and they can tell you what to expect or any preparations you can make now. This should give you some support and peace of mind in the meantime. The doctors don't always understand hospice or timing and their job is to treat and stabilize -- they will continue to do that until you or your mom tell them to stop. Just because you get hospice involved; doesn't mean that you can't change your mind or if things improve or change, go back to the doctor. You can work with both hospice and doctor is my understanding.
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Linda thank you. My gut tells me it is time. Plus, I think it would be good for my mama to have someone to talk to about her fears especially a Chaplin. I myself want to know what to expect I have heard horror stories about CHF deaths and she also has COPD. I want what is best for us both. Why would a doctor knowing that she is going to die suggest waiting ? She has told me she is dying on several occasion recently.
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That's one of the things I kept hearing was that hospice is always called too late. When I brought up hospice to dad's doctors, some didn't agree but his cardiologist said, you're right, it's just about time. I told my dad that in no way did this mean I was giving up on him, that I planned to continue to try to control his heart failure with the meds we had. But I also knew that he was entering the end stages and I wanted to make sure we could keep him comfortable when the time came. I DON'T think hospice can be called in too early. They have social services, they have pastors, they have resources to not only help with the physical issues but to also help the dying person and the family work through any unresolved issues. Dad was in hospice for almost 4 months and it was some of the best months he had for at least his last few years. No running around to see 4 different doctors, going for blood work, back and forth to the hospital. I would continue to push for hospice for your mom and get them going with her sooner rather than later. Good luck ~ Linda
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