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MIL is 93, has CHF, COPD, and is showing signs of dementia/delerium/AD.

Can't get a diagnosis from her doctor, so we just have to guess what she has, but in general, even though Mom's vital signs are still good, her mind is starting to go, and she appears to be shrinking a little more each day and has had a couple of scary breathing episodes even though she's on oxygen.

She's still relatively mobile although prone to falling (that's how she fractured both hips within 3 yrs of each other) so someone has to be with her all during the waking hours. She sleeps almost right through the night due to her meds.

So, in general, even though it appears she's doing OK, I was wondering if there's a point when caregivers start considering whether to contact hospice before they're needed?

Mr Pip thinks it's too early to "bother" them

I just want to be prepared

We're sort of at odds over this...
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Hello Pipik..

The best way to find out is to begin calling the hospice programs locally in your area and telling them exactly what you have written here. My sense is that she might be eligible already and it would be a loving service to have hospice come in and care for her as well as to support you and Mr. Pipik who might be into denial.

Doctors are not strong enough at times to suggest hospice.. it means that they can no longer help.. that perhaps they too are helpless.. so many a time it's the caregiver and the family that request that the doctor write the prescription for hospice.. and also, if the timing is appropriate and the patient is eligible for hospice, many a time, the hospice unit will contact the primary physician directly without the caregiver or family having to intervene.

I am a member of a coalition here in New York City and just had this conversation with one of the members.. that many a caregiver thinks if they bring in hospice that they are giving their loved one a death sentence.. and many wait until the last days to call hospice when they all could have had these wonderful services all along...

Even if the patient is under hospice care and they opt at the last minute for invasive procedures, they can be released from hospice.. but generally hospice is there for those who have been told they have x amount of time to live, when there isn't much more the doctors can do other than to stabilize the patient etc..

I hope this helps you.. let us know how you are making out...

Thanks for your reply, Gail...

Mom hasn't been told she has XX amount of time left, actually. Her doctor has, in the past, jokingly (or maybe not so jokingly considering what's she's been through over the years) said that she could live to be 100 or more, although I doubt it.

Each day that goes by I see her mind going a little further away from us. Some days (like yesterday) it seems like she's "gone" more than she's "here", although the degree varies.

I was the one who first suggested to Mr Pip that Mom might be showing signs of AD, and it took his telling his girls (two of whom are in the medical field) and getting their reactions before he would admit it. You's sort of like he doesn't want to listen to it if it comes from me even though I'm the one who is responsible for much of her personal care and I'm the one who keeps the daily journal of what I've observed.

So he was terribly resistant to the idea that it might be time to consider Hospice care and I do believe he'd rather wait till almost the last minute. I think he's hoping for her to have a very easy and peaceful passing, which is a comforting thought, but if things don't turn out that way it could be very difficult on all of us.

So yes...I think denial, as much as he thinks he's dealing with what he's going through now.

We're expecting the visiting nurse either today or tomorrow, and I wanted to get an opinion from someone here before I went and discussed it with the nurse so I wouldn't feel like a fool for bringing something up that might not be appropriate at this time.

Maybe if the nurse suggests it to Mr Pip next time she's here he'll be willing to listen to her....

anyway, thanks again for your reply...

Hello, I had hospice here in Michigan for my Mother, and she did not have an terminal illness. They explained to me that hospice is also used for pain control for patients.I had no prescription either, I just took it upon myself to contact them. It took 3 calls before I found the right one that understood 'our needs'. They were fantastic and there whenever we needed them. So unless you give it a try, you won't know.

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