Mon 28 Mar, 2005 10:51 pm
hospice programs & medications
I am working for a home health agency as a CNA and soon to be a RN. I have had several experiences with hospice pt. and family, etc. Until recently when i had a family member put on hospice did it really hit hard for me. My family member was ready to go and had difficulty breathing and was dying of ovarian cancer. The hospice RN got a Dr. order for Haldol and Morphine... it was administered by another family member and within minutes she was gone. I do realize the function of these medications, but is it hard to be a hospice nurse when realizing what these medications do. Some family members do not understand and think that it was something that killed their loved one.
Family members will always wrestle with guilt, regardless of how the death occurs. Families have a much harder time dealing with the death when it's sudden or unexpected (such as those due to trauma or a cardiac event).
As a hospice nurse, you have to understand that nothing will change the eventual outcome with this woman. She is going to die, regardless of what we do. The issue here is "Did she die a peaceful and comfortable death?" As a hospice nurse, if you can answer "Yes", then you have done your job. And if you can reassure the family that this is what happened, and that this was what the patient wanted, then you have done your job.
I could never work hospice.
But I believe that birth and death should be peaceful and comfortable..NEVER painful.
If not for epidurals I would have only had one child.
I think we need to remember that these patients are allready passing away. That the meds are just allowing them to do it peacefully. I believe the families should fully understand what will happen, but who wouldn't want to relieve their loved ones of any further pain.