What does a hospital staff do to prevent more pain to the relatives of deceased?

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In late 2014 after mom had heart surgey I was told by her cardiologist that she a year to live. In 2015 I fought for hospice but was told she did not qualify. After three falls at the house I finally convinced her primary doctor to place her in nursing home to regain her strenght. In late December she was rushed to nearby hospital with respiratory distress. I was told that I was killing her by enforcing the dnr she had. She slipped into a coma and was on 100% bipap. She came out of the coma on the new year. She was still on bipap but totally bed ridden. Hospice advisor on 1/3/16 said she still did qualify for hospice. The hospital said due to medicare she had to be moved. It was decided she would enter a acute care hospital.
Within days she was weaned off the bipap and was on the road to recovery. The day before she died she was breathing on her own and eating for the first time in weeks. I had gotten off a double shift and had made plans to see her the next morning.
I received a phone call at 0024 that she was passing. I raced to the hospital. What should have taken 25 drive I got dressed and made it in 11 minutes. Thinking back I sped, ran lights and place not only my own safety but anyone on the road.
When I got to hospital I was told I could not enter. She was being cleaned up. I thought perhaps she had a dirty diaper. I waited in hall. After the nurse left her room with soiled linien. Another nurse ask me what final arrangements were. It was then I was told she was dead. I explain what she wanted and was told I could go in the room.
I spend some time in the room wishing I had been there for her. She was scared to die alone and her fears came true. Two of the nurses said they prayed with her. My mom was atheist and anti socially. Her last breaths must have been a nightmare for her.
After about an hour in the room the mortuary people came in. I was told to wait in the hall. I was in hall for the longest time and return to her room to get my purse. The last images I have is seeing the body bag being zipped over her head. It is an image that is burned in mind forever.


A few weeks later I got her death certificate and saw her time of death was at 0000. I was called at 0024. When I ask the hospital they said she did due at 0000 but it is their policy to notify relatives after their death and say they are passing. Do not hospitals understand that we might want to be there for our love ones? My mom was in the telemetry unit and I feel I should have told the moment she was in distress and not 24 minutes after she died that she was passing. Why was her faith not honored? She was bed ridden and dying with strangers.
I firmly beleive that someone should have been train to handle death and relatives be placed in an area where they did not see their love ones in body bags. Ironically there was chapel cafeteria and a nurses break room in same hall. I left the hospital alone and it gave me feeling they only saw her as a paycheck. The death certificate had another error it list tobacco was not the cause of death. Lol she died from respiratory distress. She had copd due to smoking.


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My condolences on the loss of your mom.

You said your mom was breathing on her own and eating for the first time in a while. The staff probably didn't have had any indication that your mom was going to pass away. She might have just stopped breathing without any pain or struggle or distress.
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My dad passed four years ago this July. Initially I had a lot of anger over how those around him, both personal and professional acted and the choices that were made. Only recently have come to understand the actions of the hospice facility and the home hospice nurse - by learning more about end of life in preparing myself for my mothers passing - she is currently recieving hospice care. For better or worst - in your case - the hospital and mortuary staff - in my case, hospice - were just doing their jobs. And it is a job for them - dealing with death on a daily basis. Perhaps they become hardened to it death, how could they continue to do the work they do if they didn't? Maybe they've forgotten that while death is an everyday occurrence for them - it certainly isn't for us. I don't know what the answer is - regular "sensitivity training"? A change in careers? Or is it better that take their experiences and let it shape them into a sterile, auto-functioning processor of death while the family and friends of the deceased fall apart around them? Like I said - I don't know the answer, but I am sorry for your loss.
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Most death certificates say "cardio pulmonary arrest". The COPD might be listed as a contributing factor.
Obviously she was not on the road to recovery. It is important that you learn to accept that. The early stages of grief often include denial, statements like "she was getting better!" Hospice hears this a lot. I know it is hard.
My daughter with Leukemia was sitting up and eating but died two days later. I think she had a bit of a rally near the end. It doesn't change the outcome.
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