Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Still More on Roxanol...

...and comfort care.

From the very little that I understand about the legal side of nursing, Durable Power Of Attorney (DPOA) is something you give someone who agrees to make important decisions for you when you can no longer make decisions for yourself.

So, your DPOA can decide to put you on hospice and have you receive comfort care only. They can say that you wouldn't want to suffer and that it's ok to do this. Sometimes this speeds up the end, sometimes it doesn't.

In any event, what if the resident's DPOA wants hospice (and therefore is vicariously speaking for the resident) but other family members want to do everything possible to keep the resident alive? Talk about a touchy situation. The family is fighting. The resident is sick and confused and gets combative when the "live forever" side of the family is in the room and is sick and confused and angry with the "rest in peace" side of the family is there. Regardless, you almost have to grit your teeth, focus only on the resident, and get out of the room and quickly as possible. There's no way you can satisfy the family's loaded questions, so you have to resort to referring them to the charge nurse. They don't like that either.

Sadly, it makes you wish the resident would pass away faster and that's an awful feeling, too. So here we are: feeling guilty for wishing the end would come, feeling guilty for giving comfort care, and feeling guilty because we are too uncomfortable to stay in the room for one second longer than required to do our jobs.

And here I thought this job was just about keeping people happy, healthy, and comfortable.

1 comment:

Hold my hand: a social worker's blog said...

Yes, it's a tough situation. I have seen similar cases. The worst was the one in which both daughters were DPOA, one wanted comfort care and the other wanted aggressive treatments. It was awful, and I truly felt some relief when the resident passed away. The animosity and hostile environment was too much to bear.