The UK Daily Mail had two heart-breaking articles about the health care system, seniors, and what is known as the Liverpool Care Pathway. It is basically not much different than the UK version of Hospice. You put a dying person in the system and watch them die, in the most “humane” version possible.
This is where The Pink Flamingo must go on record stating that I have absolutely no use what-so-ever for hospice. As far as I’m concerned, hospice was responsible for the “humane” deaths of two of my grandparents. There are locations where hospice is a God-send. This is especially true when someone is in the last hours of cancer, or a terminal disease. My problem is the well-meaning person who decides that hospice needs to be brought in because mama needs a morphine drip to put her down so they can go to Europe as scheduled.
The articles from the UK tell the horrors of the LCP. Family members will call up to the hospital or care center to check on family, only to discover they are dead, thanks to the humane auspices of the “care pathway”. It was designed to make death as easy, convenient, comfortable, and quick as possible. A person must “sign-up” for it rather like they sign-up for post season tickets for the Braves (that’s a crock). Okay, bad analogy, the Braves rarely make it beyond a certain point. Okay, they must sign on to it the way you do registering to vote. Bad analogy. If you are not a white male, you have a chance of being purged from the voter rolls the way a binge-purger tosses up her 5000 calorie breakfast.
In the UK, a person must agree to the end of life program. Evidently, though, it’s being taken advantage of, by “well-meaning” medical personnel who get their kicks terminating the life of the useless old fartes, especially women. Now, before you get all into bashing the UK’s version of socialized medicine, you’d better do a little research here in the US. The same thing happens on a daily bases, here. It’s called a Morphine Drip. Hospice specializes in it – murdering your grandparents this way. (Yea, The Pink Flamingo has issues with hospice).
So, now the UK is starting to investigate stories about the elderly being put down the way someone would an old dog or cat. Loving, caring families who have dumped their elderly in nursing homes, or hospitals and call up once or twice a week are shocked to discover their loved ones are no longer among the living.
Cry me a river and tell it to someone who cares. If they had been caring for their family member, the situation would never have happened. Anyone who has elderly parents or loved ones, and truly cares, makes sure that those people are never ever ever left alone in a facility if they are not ambulatory, or able to use a phone on their own. And, you leave a charged cell phone with them.
The tales we find here, from the UK are about people who have basically dumped their elderly, hoping that the loving heath-care providers are going to take good care of them. Fat chance that. Unless you personally know someone in the unit, or have someone in a very good ICU, you never leave them.
This is where The Pink Flamingo gives KUDOS to the hospital here in Lincoln County. They have an excellent little ICU, and have very good nursing care, with no more than a dozen rarely used room per nursing team. When my mother was down with pneumonia a few years ago, they were incredible, but still, my niece came and stayed, night and day, with her. We had friends in and out the entire time. When someone couldn’t be there, I paid someone to be up there with her. You do this, and the chance of something care-wise, going wrong, is greatly limited.
The stories out of the UK, that are featured in the Daily Mail are primarily about families who have trusted in the medical system. Most are trusting, but aren’t spending as much time with their family members as possible. You go off and leave an elderly person alone, in a hospital for 2 weeks and these they die. It’s that simple.
I don’t have much respect for people like this. They are so busy with their lives that they really don’t give a damn about their elderly. Then, when something happens, they blame the medical profession. It gives death panels a whole new meaning – and that’s probably what those so-called death panels, which don’t exist in Obamacare, are about.
People who expect the medical profession to be warm, fuzzy, and compassionate with their elderly family members are living in a fool’s world. You can’t. Your elderly dog or cat will get better care than your elderly mother or father will.
There are wonderful health care professionals out there who love their patients and will do the very best for them. They are the rule. It is the exception that kills people. There are too many in the “exception” column to allow someone to be in control of your loved one.
It’s terrifying, daunting, and incredibly frustrating. As someone who has primary care for an 82 year old mother with a very bad heart, and an 88 year old father with Alzheimer’s, you don’t know what to do, half the time. What I do know, though, is that you never leave someone alone in a hospital, not this day and age, for very long. If you must, you make irregular checks at the hospital, take along free Starbucks for the staff, and become their best friend. It’s pricy, but well worth it. I’m talking lunch trays, flowers, a large cheesecake, thank you notes – you name it. It’s a sign that you care about what they are doing, and are well aware of what they are doing. You get better care and become part of your family member’s health care “team”.
It isn’t easy. It’s expensive, frustrating, and time consuming. The alternative is no life at all.
When you go off and basically toss mama into the ward and ignore her, don’t blame the hospital when she turns up dead. Go look in the mirror.