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When hearing about hospice for the first time for a loved one, who would you prefer to hear it from?



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August 2014

Why It’s OK for Your Loved One to Stop Eating and Drinking on Hospice

We associate food with comfort. Babies bond with their mothers while nursing or being fed a bottle. We give our loved one chicken soup when they are in bed with a cold.

Food is so important to our cultural celebrations and holidays. A colorfully decorated cake and ice cream on birthdays. Turkey and all the trimmings on Thanksgiving. Spiral ham, pecan pies and sugar cookies at Christmas. Sufganiyah and livivot on Hanukah. BBQ burgers, dogs and ice cold watermelon on the 4th of July. It goes on and on. For generations, this is how we have shown our family and friends that we care about them. As a 20 year hospice nurse, the common concern I hear from families of our hospice patients is: “I don’t want mom to starve,” or “I really want to get some fluids into dad.” I completely understand their concern on several levels.
  • Personal: Four years ago my mother died. She was admitted to a rural hospice service after a lengthy illness. She had gone five days without food or fluids. My siblings and I were at her bedside when she took her last breath. I have to admit, even knowing the clinical implications of forcing food or fluids at the time of death, I struggled to make the decision.

  • Emotional: It is difficult to think that we may be allowing our loved ones to feel hunger or thirst. Caregivers wonder: Am I going to feel guilty after it is all said and done?

  • Clinical: During a terminal illness, providing food or fluids late in the dying process can actually be worse for our loved one.

While all of those levels are important, it is the clinical level that is the most easily misunderstood. I want to explain how and why it is not always best to feed and hydrate dying patients.

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Jessica Bradshaw “Gets It All Started” on the Frontlines at Crossroads

Posted on August 28, 2014
At Crossroads Hospice in Lenexa, Jessica Bradshaw gets the ball rolling. As a referral coordinator for the site, she is the one on the phone answering questions from prospective patients and their families and getting everything in place once they go on service with Crossroads. In many ways, she sees herself as an ambassador for the company. Her dedication to the “even more care” motto makes her exceptional as a first contact for those who deserve the right care at the right time.

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