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When do you start hospice care?

Posts: 2
Joined: May 2013

My mother has stage 4 blader cancer that has spread to her lungs. She is not in pain. Her prognosis is that she has months to live and there will be no treatment. She is able to take care of her self, but is weak. She is able to walk around but spends most of her day in bed watching tv.

Should we start looking into Hospice and setting that up or when is the best time to do that?

Posts: 761
Joined: Apr 2012

So sorry to hear about your mother.  Her doctors will have to put in order in for hospice.  You could call hospice in your area and talk with them to find out exactly what you need to do.  My husband's cancer has spread and he has elected no further treatment.  Our oncologist said we should go ahead and get hospice started but I disagree.  Right now my husband is doing fairly well.  He is able to get out and go and work in the yard.  He has pain but nothing really bad and has pain medication that he takes maybe twice a day.  When we saw our primary, we talked about hospice but my husband said he felt that if we called them in now, he would just go downhill and our primary agreed.

Talk with your mother and see what she wants.  I had hospice for my mother but only during the last two weeks of her life.  She was going downhill and after two hospitalizations in one month, the doctor recommended calling in hospice as they could do nothing else for her.  Hospice was great and we had great nurses.  

Wishing the best to you and your mother -- Sharon

grandmafay's picture
Posts: 1639
Joined: Aug 2009

generally speaking, your mom is eligible for hospice when her doctor determines that she has 6 months or less And is no longer receiving treatment. Each hospice is independent so it's a good idea to talk to yours. Palliative care is allowed for most hospices now. I would say the sooner the better. Hospice is there for the whole family. They are also experts in pain management. They have a 24/7 phone number which I found very helpful. My husband was only on hospice for about a month. I wish we had called sooner. His pain meds, oxygen, a hospital bed and just about anything we needed was delivered directly to our home. He was still somewhat mobile when we started hospice. He was able to interact with the nurse and social worker before those last few difficult days. They also took care of the death certificate and contacting the mortuary. Most  have grief follow up for family members,too. I'm sorry that it has come to this point with your mother. Take care. My thoughts are with you. Fay

Posts: 2
Joined: May 2013

Thank you so much for your post. It has cleared a lot up for me and my mother. We are going to contact Hospice and get it started ASAP. 

Deborah J Cornwall's picture
Deborah J Cornwall
Posts: 32
Joined: Feb 2013

I've talked with dozens of cancer caregivers as part of a book project. People tell me that the earlier you start, the better prepared she and the rest of the family will be. Hospice nurses are a true gift to any family that is facing the death of a loved one. I wish you all strength as you help her orchestrate her own death with a minimum of pain or anxiety.

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