questionshow do i handle a relative entering hospice?

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Not really... I went through this about 22 years ago with my mother and brain cancer.

My heart goes out to you.

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Know that hospice will provide the support and relief the patient requires and it extends to family as well. I am so sorry for the loss you are undergoing, but it is good to know that the comfort choice has been made and agreed to by all. My heart goes out to you also.

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The hospice people are wonderful, and they have a lot of resources to guide you too. That is where I would want a loved one to be. Just spend the time loving that person. Bring photos, and memories, and don't forget to make new ones. It is bittersweet, but hospice is the bomb for making it natural and comfortable. Don't forget to inquire if you need some counseling too, they will guide you in the right direction. My thoughts are with you.

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Adding to the wonderful answers above, just remember that she is the same person you knew before.

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I'm sure we all have different experiences, so I'll tell you mine. Hopefully it will be useful to you. My sister went into hospice last year. She had good days where she was very clear-headed and we reminisced about all the fun times we had together. There were bad days where she was confused and in and out of consciousness. All you can do is be there for them. She had a birthday, and we made a huge deal out of it, knowing it was her last. It was hilarious watching her eat her favorites, cake in one hand, candy in another! She had been on a restricted diet, but at this point, they said to let her eat whatever she wants. She went into a coma for six days before she died, just 23 days after her 50th birthday.

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It's really a sad time and it's inevitable. My Grandmother passed away a couple days after Valentines Day this year and less than a month after her birthday (which I regrettably missed out, because I was overseas during that month). She originally was just admitted in the hospital for pneumonia, but her health degraded so fast within two weeks to where she became unresponsive to the point we had to go hospice. By the way, my Grandmother had a mastectomy, goiter, osteoporosis, broken spinal discs and acute kidney failure for decades and she still stayed strong til the end.

It's a really though time for the whole family. Just stay strong and just know that your family member will be in a better place now.

I quote I used on my eulogy for my Grandmothers funeral was, " The person you take for granted today, could very well be the person you miss terribly tomorrow. "

So as everyone else in the thread has mentioned, always remember, thank and cherish the memories of your loved ones.

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Thanks everyone. I appreciate your kind words and heartfelt advice.

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My aunt was a visiting nurse for a hospice and she was unable to do that for a very long time. The hospice program is meant to provide care for the patient AND counseling/support/planning for the family. My aunt cried almost everyday she worked for hospice because it's not so much the passing of patients, it's the relationship she developed with the families and seeing their sadness while trying their hardest to gather up a smile and the words "thank you" to her. She met some amazing people and just couldn't handle seeing others in pain.

My recommendation is to not treat the hospice as a "end of life" facility, but as a place of comfort. The hardest part is learning to let go... once you accept that, you will find yourself focusing on spoiling them and making them feel as comfortable as can be, not on their pain. They know when you are sad and would feel bad that they are the reason you have tears in your eyes.

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You just do. The true beauty of hospice, to me, is that it gives both the patient and the family the time to just be together. You don't have to worry about a doctor coming in and interrupting or someone coming in to draw blood or just the every 5 minute beeping of crap that happens at a hospital. You have time to have a cup of tea and a visit. It's so much more peaceful of a way to say goodbye that it is hard to put into words. I've had 2 hospice experiences this year so far and both were just astoundingly calm and loving. I truly hope your grandmother and you have the same.

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I am sorry for your impending loss, and glad that you got the chance to spend time with her. Alzheimer's is the primary killer of women in my family, so they are lost long before they pass, and you lose them by inches so you never really get any sense of emotional closure. But let me offer you advice based on one vicarious experience. One of the programs I fund is the Foster Grandparents Program, where seniors volunteer to work with at-risk kids. One of the grandmas was diagnosed with a terminal illness, not given long to live, and moved into Hospice. Her family sold all her belongings and her home and rapidly spent all the money. After several months in Hospice it was clear that she was getting better, not worse, and now the cancer has gone into remission. Only, she has nothing. No place to live, no clothes or TV or mementos of a life well lived. So, if at all possible, hold onto all your grandmother's things until she has actually passed.