Today’s post is from a friend and an employee of Support For Home. She has a world of experience in elder care, as a professional and as a family caregiver, as you will see below. She also has passion. 🙂 Annie’s story involves a hospice situation, but the lessons apply as well to long term care for folks with chronic conditions. So, Annie L., thank you so much for sharing your wisdom.
Reading the [Support For Home] newsletter, as I do each Friday night, I clicked on the WordPress blog regarding the bridge needed between clients / patients and their medical providers when medical information from the home is needed and medical personnel are not available to realistically provide it in an ongoing fashion and family is not available or willing to be trained to take it on.
I would like to outline something my family has done in the past, and the reason I am writing is that if my brother and I had not been able to be there, my father would have ended his life in a hospital instead of at home… If there had been a competent and trusted individual who could have been similarly trained to provide the medical procedures my brother and I did, would we all have wanted that to have happened in our stead? If [my brother] couldn’t have been there, absolutely. The problem seems not to be that specific and targeted training isn’t available or doable; it is the issue of liability as well as acceptability of the idea. That seems to be a surmountable issue when so much is at stake…
Just as an example of the things my brother and I were trained to do, that an intelligent and diligent individual without medical training could have been equally able to provide:
When my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, his medical needs were immediate and beyond our family’s ability to provide at home. Yet my father, who was quickly accepted by [a hospice agency in] Washington because of the seriousness of the illness, wanted nothing more than to stay at home throughout his illness, as long as his pain could be kept under control — and this [the hospice agency] wa able to promise him they could do. so — as a family — my father, mother, brother and I were offered the opportunity to be trained … in the medical techniques necessary to provide care at home. My father, of course, could not participate physically, but he remained clear and a guide as to what he was experiencing up to the day he died. My mother was too distraught to learn; but she stayed by my father’s side each day and night — they often fell asleep together while holding hands, she sitting in a chair next to his hospital bed in the living room. My brother and I were the one to be trained, and we agreed to give it our very best shot. No guarantees.
In Part II, Annie takes us through the details of the care and training, to the conclusions she reached, as a family caregiver and as a professional in the field of elder care.