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End Stage Emphysema Care

Hello.  My mom was diagnosed with Emphysema a few years and has been on oxygen 24/7 for 8 months--she has not stopped smoking either.  She recently ended up with the flu, bronchitis, and then pneumonia and is in the hospital now, but is recovering from this episode.  The doctors have placed her on hospice and hospice personnel will come to the home when she leaves the hospital.  However, my understanding is that the hospice personnel only come out a few times per week.

Is there any information available on:1) what we can expect in terms of her future symptoms, 2) how to tell how much time she really has left, 3) what types of additional care/support will be required on a part or full-time basis, and 4) whether Medicare or Tricare (U.S. Military insurance) will help cover some of the expenses?

Our family has been rotating to provide 24/7 care recently, but it's been extremely difficult.  And she does not want to be placed in a nursing home (which would be expensive as well).  Thanks for any help/ideas.
1 Responses
90270 tn?1199338069
As far as Medicare goes, hospice care should be covered. I don't know about Tricare but I would think that they cover these services too. Medicare covers all but 5% of drug costs that are used in the care of your mother.
What to expect with hospice care...I have found that hospice nurses are a wonderful source for information and support. They really are angels on earth and have alot of compassion, at least the ones I have known and dealt with. (I used to help arrange hospice care for my patients when I was still a nurse).
Usually they will develop a care plan in accordance with your mom's doctor. Any issues such as pain or severe shortness of breath will be dealt with quickly, the aim for hospice is comfort care and death with dignity. They will also help provide supplies that your mom may need...bedside commode if she can't walk far without being very short of breath for example.
With end stage emphysema, there is shortness of breath with exertion...it can be scary for both the caregivers and definitely for the patient. Anti anxiety meds are helpful for those symptoms, some doctors use morphine as well. Appetite is often not great either, nurses will watch for weight loss and help with nutrition. Often nutritional supplements are helpful along with small meals or snacks. It takes alot of energy to eat when a person is using so much to just breathe. Daily activities such as bathing or dressing might become difficult requiring some help. The care plan varies with each person.
It is great that your family is rotating care for your mom, remember to take care of yourselves too...get rest and get out once in a while. Hope this helps some Sunny
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