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Old 02-23-2012, 09:53 PM
Location: Schertz
581 posts, read 1,038,874 times
Reputation: 1123


Okay, so a serious question to pose for people out there in the CD world. This was brought up in conversation this evening with my brother, his wife,and I. My brother and I's grandfather has been placed in a rehab/hospice like center in order to recover from a serious bladder infection. Although he is better, the whole treatment regimen took it's toll on his 87yr old body. He's a former chain smoking Army joe who's been through wars, bouts of cancer, strokes, and back. There is a fairly good chance he will not be leaving a place like, pretty much ever. He is awake, alert, and does interact with his environment but he is very weak and frail.

My brother has been saying that his kids, my nieces and nephew, want to see him. They are 16, 9, and 4. The 16 and 9 yr old grew up with him, as we did. Took trips, went all over the country RVing with them during the summers, spent countless weeks over at their home. So they're taking it hard. He had just had his first stroke right before the 4yr old was born but he was lucky enough to not have been devestatingly affected by it as others might have been. He was very functional. So the 4 yr old grew up with him to an extent. She does know who he is and is very much aware that he is not at "his house with nana."

So to the question, my sister in law was saying that she did not want her 9yr old and especially her 4 yr old to visit him at the center. She believes that it is too sad a place and that it would do more harm to the kids than good. My brother disagrees because he says they ask on a daily basis if they can go see him, bring him cards they made and a teddy bear, and just see him. In one respect, I agree with my brother but I also see my sister in laws side. I have a background in medicine and although I don't deal with live patients on the regular, I do know what it is like in that sort of elderly rehabilitation environment, so I really do understand her concern. I choose to not express my deep input due to the fact that I, myself, do not have children so I don't know that part of it and also, that it's not my place to say one way or another.

So after that longwinded shpiel, I throw it out to you CDers, what is your view on this? Has anyone gone through this sort of situation? How would, or how did, you handle it? I just think it'd be interesting to see what others would say.
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Old 02-23-2012, 10:03 PM
Location: That's pretty obvious
1,035 posts, read 2,081,904 times
Reputation: 950
let them go. I spent many weeks at the hospice when I was little and my grandmother was dying of cancer. I played the piano in the rec room, hung "artwork" all over the walls and was treated so nicely by the staff. The situation was sad, but the place was not. Let them have the opportunity to visit and say their goodbyes. Withholding that experience would probably cause more harm.
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Old 02-23-2012, 10:07 PM
Location: San Antonio
123 posts, read 227,826 times
Reputation: 147
I think they should go. Sadly death is part of life, and they need to be able to say their goodbyes. I don't believe it's healthy to shield children from reality all the time. I also think that if they don't get to see him it could possibly impede their grieving process.
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Old 02-23-2012, 10:11 PM
Location: Dallas TX & AL Gulf Coast
6,848 posts, read 10,137,440 times
Reputation: 33355
I would say it would depend on the type place it is and how it is run.

If it is a true hospice, I would not have any misgivings about taking children to visit, for I've not been in one that did not provide a warm loving, caring environment... where every patient is treated with the utmost dignity... and are far from from the sad environment your SIL describes - it seems that she may have more of an image of some poorly run nursing homes instead.

Hospice's are there to care for the whole family - not just the patients - and can be very inspiring to all. I would also recommend that they be allowed to go, the sooner the better, while he is still alert.

Best to all of you!

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Old 02-23-2012, 11:58 PM
Location: South Central Texas
114,169 posts, read 54,158,927 times
Reputation: 163266
I agree take the kids as long as they are well. The elderly patients especially love seeing the kids. Anyone's kids! I know....I'll be visiting my mom Friday with one of the Gkids.
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Old 02-24-2012, 05:10 AM
Location: San Antonio
7,629 posts, read 14,374,443 times
Reputation: 18706
First, let me offer prayers and comfort to your family as you deal with this painful situtation. Difficult times to deal with for sure.

Second, ABSOLUTELY let them go. As a nurse I can tell you that we "scare" our children far more on the cycle of life, from birth to death when we allow their imaginations to run wild or try to figure out what might be happening then when we include them and teach them that life is a cycle and a normal process...not something to be frightened and scared about.

Hospice is not different from the hospital, with the exception palative vs curative care is taking place. Would you have concerns taking them to the hospital to visit???
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Old 02-24-2012, 06:10 AM
Location: San Antonio, TX
11,157 posts, read 20,444,227 times
Reputation: 26428
I would take the kids to see him. My kids didn't get to say goodbye to their great-grandmother (she lived in CA and I couldn't afford a sudden trip out there) and they definitely felt sad that they missed a last chance to see her.

When my husband's grandmother was dying, we took our daughter (an infant then) to see her. Our daughter was too young to know what was going on, but my husband's grandmother, who didn't remember who we were, loved getting to see and hold the baby.
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Old 02-24-2012, 06:40 AM
852 posts, read 929,319 times
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I agree with everyone else and for the same reasons they gave, take the kids. Prayers to you and your family during this incredibly difficult time
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Old 02-24-2012, 06:57 AM
330 posts, read 502,305 times
Reputation: 625
Prayers to you and your family, Tortuga.

Paka, you are so right. My mom works in hospice and is very involved with the Children's Bereavement Center and would give advice identical to Paka's. One of the advantages of hospice care is access to clergy and social workers. Your SIL might feel better about it after talking with them.
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Old 02-24-2012, 08:10 AM
Location: Schertz
581 posts, read 1,038,874 times
Reputation: 1123
First, thank you everyone for the kind words and prayers. I'll pass them on accordingly. Secondly, thank you, again, for your replies and advice. I'm definitely going to try to find a way to combine all of your words into something that my SIL could understand about taking my nieces and nephew. Not saying she is stupid, far from it, but maybe a different view of things, death being a part of life, etc. As I scientist, I know that death is natural and the common end to the mean. The second we are born, we start to die, on the molecular level. So it's all a part of this great evolution of life as we know it.

I don't know her direct aversion to taking the kiddos, I think it might be due to the "picture" of a hospice care center. But again, it's pure speculation. I, personally, don't have any experiences with it myself as child due to one grandmother passing away suddenly when I was a kid and then being an adult for my grandfather.

But the location he is in is VERY nice and in a beautiful area. I, as well as my grandmother (the boss LOL) are very happy with it. My grandfather is very well taken care of, he get his 3 squares a day that are in line with his diet, and due to the fact he has a private room, they allow my grandmother to stay with him so she has never left his side. I think the private room factor might help my SIL since it will be mainly family in a room as opposed to having someone else to take in account if he was sharing. But it all started because they're having a Family Day next week in which they're having a dinner and a small band. So I hope with everyone's kind words and my brother's insistence, I can nudge her to let the kiddos join us and we can all go and be together and have a little fun in the process, just like every other time before. And like someone said, it may be just want the Doctor order for him. Maybe seeing the kiddos might help him boost his mood and improve his health through laughter because I dare ANYONE to hang around that little 4yr old bundle of energy and not have fun and laugh.

Thanks again!
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