I asked the doctor today if my dad would qualify for hospice since I'm making his medical decisions now, and the doctor said yes because liver failure is terminal unless you get a transplant. I asked my dad if he wanted to go to a nursing home where he would continue treatment or if he wanted to go to a hospice home where he would get pain management and end of life care even if it may be several months. He agreed on the hospice. Half of me thinks I should fight to get him in a nursing home where he can continue to live, but the other half of me can't stand the idea of the rest of his life being in a place he hates fighting an organ failure no one can fix, where he'd eat food he hates, and where his whole life will consist of draining fluid from his legs and abdomen, bland low sodium food, and limited visitation during covid.

I feel like either way I am sealing his fate. If he goes to a nursing home, he could live 2 more years, but at what cost? If he goes to hospice, it'll be less than that, but he'll be more comfortable. But I want my daddy to live.

I am so sad and so lost. I want him to be out of misery, but does that really mean I need to make a decision where he may die sooner than later? Is that right?

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There’s nothing to indicate in what you wrote that you are sealing your dad’s fate. You asked him about hospice and he chose it. This is where my family was with my dad with past summer. He had end stage CHF and was so very tired of the merry go round of treatment that wasn’t working anyway. His doctor suggested we talk to him about hospice care and my dad agreed to it. He knew what the future looked like and that there are fates worse than death. My dad was kept comfortable and out of pain by hospice. He left this world exactly as he wished. It made me beyond sad, but I also appreciate his wisdom in deciding it was time to stop pursuing treatment that wasn’t working and only making him miserable. Respect your dad’s choice in this, know it can always be undone if he chooses, and have peace knowing he’ll be cared for in a compassionate way. I wish you both peace
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Dear "aj6044,"

When my dad had Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer in 2004, I knew he wouldn't live long. He surprised me when he told the Oncologist that he was willing to do the chemotherapy. We made his first appointment for the following week.

I went home and could not relax. I knew my dad very well and transporting him there and to the 2nd floor no less, would not be easy. I knew in my heart he wouldn't be able to handle it and it was not going to be good for him or my mom - he was 82 and she was 79.

I called my mom a few hours later and told her I didn't think he should go through all of that when the Oncologist already told us it may only help him live a few more weeks to a month at best.

I went over to my parent's house the next day with my hospice packet that I requested and told my dad I didn't want him to suffer needlessly. He agreed on the spot to allow hospice to care for him in their home. I called and made arrangements for the case manager to come, assess him and signed him up immediately. They were so wonderful to him and he passed away peacefully three weeks later.

Like "Daughterof1930" said - "you asked him about hospice and he chose it." I hope you will be comfortable with "his" choice/decision. I know you want your daddy to live. I didn't want my dad to die either but I wouldn't trade "our" collective decision for anything and have no regrets. My husband, myself and my mom were all surrounding him along with the hospice nurse and a hospice volunteer - I couldn't have asked for more.

Your dad's passing away is in God's hands -

"You have decided the length of our lives. You know how many months we will live, and we are not given a minute longer." Job 14:5 NLT

Rest in that and take comfort that all is in alignment with God's plan.

I'll be praying for you and your dad - that you will have peace in your heart!
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A month ago I put Mom on Palliatative care, and today we decided to move to Hospice as she has had a sharp decline,, and I know how hard this is. They are coming tomorrow to assess her, and I have taken off work until Fri to get things set up and possibly Home Care for nights so we can get some sleep. They are offering alot of help, and med management for her pain, anxiety and breathing issues. Last night hubs and I had a long talk, something had to change and with COVID placement would be awful, and she is with it enough to think we would be putting her out. But she knows she is failing fast, and wants to be comfortable and pass here at home if possible. It is hard watching her struggle to breath, refuse to go the hospital, and wander and have hallucinations. It was really sort of freeing to be able to get the help, and no judgements, just knowing we will be making her comfortable, and giving her permission to go. Hospice was wonderful with my Dad,, I know I am making the right decision for all of us.
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Daughterof1930 Jan 2021
Pam, I’ve often admired your closeness and care for your mom. Know this is so hard for you, but also the best path, wishing you all peace
AJ, if you're honoring your dad's wishes, then you're making the right decision.

My mom chose hospice after battling CHF for a long time. Her last 2 years were a revolving door of hospital, rehab, home, hospital, rehab, home, etc. It got to the point I was keeping notes in my phone calendar, because when I would get asked "when was the last time she was hospitalized" they all seemed to run together. And she was miserable at the hospital...they didn't want her doing anything, including getting up on her own to go the the bathroom, so every time she came home she was worse off physically than before she went in.

She made the decision to go into hospice. It was an easier decision for her to accept than for me. But from the moment hospice entered the picture, as others have said, it was like a weight being taken off our shoulders.

What I found was the nicest thing about hospice was the amount of time they spent with her when they came to check on her. They would come in, do her examination, and talk to her and WITH wasn't "revolving door" medicine. They put the power of making the decisions about her treatment in her hands, which she so very much appreciated.

Hospice is not about pulling a shroud over your dad - it's about giving him the best quality of life in the time he has left. I am so grateful to hospice for the care they gave to my mom, especially at the very end.
Peace to you and your dad through the journey.
Helpful Answer (9)

You made the correct choice. My brother was kept comfortable during his end of life hospice care. The nurses were wonderful and cared for all of his needs.

My brother did not want to prolong any agony. He wanted to have a better quality of life over a longer quantity of life.

Your father chose to live a shorter amount of time to be able to die with dignity. I would do the same if I were in his shoes.

Take advantage of the social worker and clergy that are provided in hospice. They are there to assist the entire family.
Helpful Answer (8)

Your choice to enroll your dad in hospice care is a wonderful decision and you can feel proud that you are putting his needs above all else. What a blessing it will be for him to be at home or in the care of staff at a hospice house. Reputable hospices work hard to ensure that the end-of-life experience for the patient and their loved ones is filled with comfort, quality and dignity.

Many of our patients are able to do more once coming onto care because hospice professionals are holistic in their approach. Studies have shown that hospice patients have a tendency to live longer due to the care they receive. Regardless of the time your dad has I can tell by your post that you want his life to be filled with comfort, joy and family. Hospice should help you accomplish that.

I have worked for a stellar hospice for over 7 years. It is difficult to describe the change most patients have once coming on to our service, especially if receiving care at home or in one of our hospice houses.

On a personal note, I tried desperately to have my aunt accept hospice care; ultimately, the family was too afraid of the word "hospice". Their end of life journey was less than positive and it breaks my heart to think of it.

As a complete stranger this will sound odd, I am so proud of you for choosing what is best for your dad. Prayers for you this morning. Choosing a hospice with a solid reputation will give you and your dad more quality time together. Trust yourself, you are the most important advocate your dad has.
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Your father has made his decision to got to the hospice facility, so you need to honor and respect that decision. Just because he's going under hospices care now, doesn't mean that he will die any sooner than if he went to the nursing home. My husband was under hospice care in our home for 22 months, before he died in Sept. 2020, so as you can see someone can live longer than one would think while under their care. So just enjoy whatever time you have left with him, and remember that only God knows when He will call your father home, so regardless of the decisions being made, He has the final say. May God give you His comfort and peace in the days and months ahead.
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Your dad could very possibly have both scenarios. My mother is in a nursing home, and I put her on hospice care this past weekend. She will still be cared for by the same caregivers she's accustomed to and be able to participate in the activities there, but she'll also have a second set of eyes on her and the hospice nurse will manage any pain she may have as her time draws closer.

I think you should educate yourself a little more on hospice care. It's a wonderful option, and it most assuredly does not "seal his fate," as he can be removed from it at any time and receive more advanced medical care if he decides he wants it. The important thing to remember is that hospice is all about preserving quality of life, and endless futile medical treatments do not contribute to quality of life. My dad had liver cancer, so he was going through the same thing your dad was, and once hospice came on board an enormous weight was lifted from all of us. They're available 24/7, they really care to be helpful not only to the patient but to the family, too, and it was just a relief to have someone who was 100% on our side.
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My SIL is a hepatologist (liver doctor) and he lost 3 patients the week of Thanksgiving to liver failure. All 3 were fairly elderly and one had cancer--so even as he worked with 2 of the 3 to possibly get a liver transplant--the chances of that, when you are over 70, and in poor health--pretty much zero.

He has commented that watching someone die from liver failure is pretty sad. The EOL hospice is a complete godsend. He cannot bear to see his patients in pain, and although he cannot control what they choose, I know he is very good to educate both patient and family about the possibilities. He doesn't sugarcoat the awfulness of how sick they very likely will get.

I've had 2 LO's pass on hospice that THEY chose. Calm, peaceful and not fraught with agonizing pain and anxiety.

Honor your dad's wishes and every time you start to think you did the wrong thing--remind yourself that HE is in control and let that comfort you.

I am sorry for what you are going through. (My Dh had liver cancer and then a liver transplant, and 14 years later, he is doing OK. Someday, it will be me/him deciding it's time for Hospice. I hope I can be brave and wise.)
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Hospice is not about "giving up." Hospice does not seek to heal health problems that are incurable, so there is no need to consider "fighting for" a cure. Hospice is also not about abandoning a person to his/her fate. Most times hospice is deemed appropriate for an individual that is suffering and their health problem will lead to demise in 6-12 months (depends on the state/province and health insurance definitions).

Hospice is about compassionate care and valuing the life remaining to an individual. With hospice, an individual is given treatment to give comfort and encouraged to enjoy the life that he/she has. If that are the goals for your loved one at this time in his life, the choice is more than appropriate - it is valuing him.
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