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Doctors said Hospice.. family in denial

Posts: 22
Joined: Jun 2007

My mother is presently in the ICU. Today, the doctors arranged the 'family meeting'. Up until this point, we've watched her condition decline and she's come 'in and out' of being present mentally with us.
My mom has been unable to move now for over a month due to a myriad of complications and conditions which will not/cannot go away. She's longed for rehabilitation to regain movement, but has never been able to tolerate bedside PT.
Her lungs are what the doctors say will fail.
The doctors were (brutally) honest about her condition and proceeded to begin the hospice discussion.
My other family members did not listen/could not listen. I had the hospice informational meeting without them. I simply wanted to understand and gather all of the information possible.
I'm struggling with how to proceed. I don't want to confront my family members. I spoke openly to my mother privately telling her that I will support whatever she decides.
Inside, I am struggling tremendously with losing her, yet I don't want to encourage pipe dreams. The doctors said it could be a few weeks to a few months. I wish everyone could listen to the doctors. Any guidance?

StacyGleaso's picture
Posts: 1248
Joined: Mar 2003

I am sorry about the circumstances that surround you. I have heard cases where hospice was used to ease over a certain point, not necessarily leading immediately to dying. I think by speaking with hospice, they can provide ways to make your mom not feel all that pain she is experiencing. I agree, you cannot change the minds of family members, but it is important to look at all your mom's options, regardless of how uncomfortable they make the family. Not being able to move can also lead to bed sores which can be worse than the cancer in some cases (infection, pain due to location, etc).

I am not one to suggest speeding up someone's life, but think of keeping her comfortable. What good is it to be on earth but in constant pain?

My prayers and heart goes out to you and your family during this difficult time.


davidsonxx's picture
Posts: 137
Joined: Mar 2007

We had hospice care for both my sister and my mom. They were wonderful. Their main focus is on making the patient comfortable. Part of what they do is also help the family members come to terms with the loss of their loved one. I am so glad we had hospice care available.

I agree that you don't want to confront your family members. Emotions are running high and even small things are magnified at a time like this. You may want to try talking with your mom's social worker about the problem. Sometimes it helps to have someone outside the family talk to them. Also if your mom should decide she wants hospice make sure that she is the one to tell the family members so they know it is her decision. It may be that your family mambers just need a little time to accept the news. It is not unusual to be in denial at first. Even though you know the end is coming it's still a shock to have it confirmed. It has been a while since your post so I hope things have already resolved themselves. If not may be this will help.

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