Mom is on palliative care and they are taking away her medicines. What should we do? - AgingCare.com

Mom is on palliative care and they are taking away her medicines. What should we do?

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This was done without informing my dad. They took away her medicine for heartburn (she has a Hiatal Hernia), and for Nausea (Zofran), and her thyroid medicine. I thought pallative care was supposed to make someone comfortable. How is it making her comfortable by making her suffer with heartburn? Now she's complaining of heartburn and nausea. Someone said you can "graduate" from hospice. I don't see how you can graduate if you need thyroid medicine and they take it away. Does anyone have any ideas on what we should do? I really appreciate all the help I got with questions about her broken leg and things....

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I would question why they stopped her heartburn since she is having pain. She is to be kept comfortable. The Thyroid med., did they test her to see how her numbers are. You have a right to question.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Dorianne is in BC, but hey, I'd much rather winter here in SW Ontario than anywhere in the prairies, especially in the North. ;)
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Reply to cwillie
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retiring in Ontario for the climate????
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Reply to Karsten
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It is not that there is not good palliative care in Ontario, it is just that the distinction between palliative and hospice doesn't really exist, they are synonymous. From my reading that is the general rule everywhere but in the USA and the distinction there is mostly to distinguish it from a funded Hospice program.

(Sorry for stealing your thread Karsten)
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That is interesting, Gershun and cwillie. I guess it must be determined case-by-case. I think maybe you are given more choices about treatment with palliative (in BC)?  (Edit:  I noticed on the BC Ministry of Health website, there is a section for "planned death" - meaning assisted suicide.  You can plan it? or have to register your plan??? through the MoH - I didn't look too closely, as mom would be considered too incompetent now to make that decision for herself.  I wonder if that's different from other provinces too?)

I'm surprised there's no distinction between palliative and hospice in Ontario. We do have a high population of seniors (they all want to retire here for the climate and scenery!), so maybe they've been more vocal advocates for distinction between the two?

Edit - Gershun, now that I remember it, my grandfather was in VGH's palliative unit too, before he died.  He was there for about 3 weeks, and in his case, it was similar (drugs, oxygen) - except that he was in a car accident, rather than having an illness or decline, and went to palliative from the ICU.   (Basically because the ICU staff kept pounding on his chest to resuscitate him and the doctor finally told mom it was cruel, since he'd broken his collarbone in the car accident.)
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Reply to Dorianne
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I live in Vancouver and my Mom was in palliative care in the hospital for a week before she passed. They discontinued all medication in her case. They just gave her morphine when her breathing became erratic and an oxygen thingy in her nose. Nothing else.
I had the impression that this was not some automatic procedure they had in place but just an independant case by case thing suitable to the individual.
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Reply to Gershun
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That is interesting Dorianne, there is no separation of hospice and palliative care in Ontario, I thought the distinction was strictly an American thing. I wonder how the other provinces handle it.
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Reply to cwillie
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My mom is palliative. Here in Canada there is a difference between palliative and hospice. What's similar is that the doctor(s) believe she has less than 6 months to live, and that she will not be sent to an ICU or put on any life support machines....plus in Canada, we qualify for extra benefits under palliative/hospice (like free home support and medical equipment). What's different is that nothing changes with mom's treatments on palliative care (she is on dialysis), and she would be given new medicines for things like pneumonia or a heart attack - whereas all treatment would be stopped on hospice care, and she would receive "comfort care" medicines to ease any suffering.

It sounds an awful lot like your mom has been put on hospice care. I might be wrong, as I'm sure it's different everywhere. That said, I think treating things like heartburn or nausea would/should be considered part of comfort care, even under hospice guidelines. I would definitely check with the doctor, and also the hospice or hospital social worker.  (Mom's renal social worker has been a lifeline to me in explaining things, helping me set up supports, and in acting as a liaison between me and the health care system.)
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Reply to Dorianne
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I agree 100% Karsten! Even though my mom's life saving meds were reduced significantly she still gets sinemet to treat her parkinson's tremors and one heart/BP med (propranolol) that was also beneficial in relieving her lifetime headaches.
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whether it be hospice or palliative, my understanding from a lot of talking with hospice people the last few days and reading, you still get meds that provide comfort. I personally have GERD and know if I do not take my drugs I am in great discomfort. But for an elderly person it must be a lot worse. I simply cannot understand why they would take away heartburn drugs which are in part a comfort drug.
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