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First day in palliative care centre for my Mother in Law 
Started by Lyne
21 Nov 2012, 10:59 AM

My Mother in Law (who i am extremely close to) has been transfered out of Eastern Health and into the Miller Center. She is in the Palliative care ward and has a private room. This is new to us and we are not sure what to expect. She was diagnosed with inoperatable lung cancer that has now spread to the other lung, liver, stomach and stomach lymph nodes . She had a dye test done yesterday so we are awaiting results from that. Jessie is 78 yrs old and unfortunately there are no treatments available to her as her system is too weak. She was diagnosed with this cruel disease back in March or April of this year. 

We are not too familiar with the Miller Center and how it works in terms of the patient's living arrangements. Will Jessie continue to stay in this particular "Unit" until the end or is there a possibility of her being moved around? If anyone knows that answer, i would love to hear from you. And if anyone can contribute their experience dealing with the Miller Center (as they were losing a loved one), it would be greatly appreciated.  Tks, Lyne

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Reply by moderator | modératrice
21 Nov 2012, 11:56 AM

Dear Lyne,

Welcome to Virtual Hospice. I'm glad that you found us during this difficult time.

I'm not familiar with Eastern Health or the Miller Centre, but looking at their website it appears that the provide continuing care and palliative care. It sounds like palliative care is exactly what your mother-in-law as well as you and your family need right now. Have you heard about palliative care before? Here's an article where you can read a bit more about it

What is palliative care?

Many of the forum members have experience with palliative care - not the Miller specifically - but palliative care elsewhere in the country. They will share their experiences with you.

To get some answers specifically about the Miller Centre and perhaps to get some guidance on what questions to ask your mother-in-laws care team about moving her around, I suggest you write to our clinical nurse specialist. You can send her a confidential question on Ask a Professional  You'll get an answer within 3 business days. 

You and your family have a difficult journey ahead of you. We're ready to accompany you at least virtually here on the forums. Please let us know how today goes. You'll be in our thoughts.

Tian, Plum, Brayden, eKim what can you share with Lyne about palliative care? 
Colleen
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Reply by Tian
21 Nov 2012, 12:46 PM

Dear Lyne

First of all you have my sympathy for the situation your family finds itself in. I am a volunteer in a palliative care ward and my short answer to what you can expect is anything. I am not familiar with the Miller Centre but what is very likely is that your mother-in-law will be cared for by a very compassionate staff who understand that you have a lot of questions and will do their best to answer them. Colleen has given you a great starting point but you don't need to delay asking questions at the Miller Centre right away. There is no such thing as a stupid question. Ask anything you want. The same applies to this forum. We're here for you.

Tian
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Reply by Plum1
21 Nov 2012, 3:33 PM

Dear Lyne,
Although I have not had anyone in my family diagnosed with lung cancer, I have, in my experience both in respiratory wards and palliative care, been with persons suffering with the disease. I feel very much for you and your family, and extend my sympathy and love. Yes, this is a cruel disease as it diminishes and finally brings to an end the Breath of Life, which is so very vital and natural to us. It is painful for all to accompany someone, especiallly a loved one, suffering with it. Please know that I will now hold all of you in my love and prayer.

I agree with Tian that it is important for you and your family to ask all the questions you need. A palliative care staff is prepared for this. The whole point of pallliative care is to offer every means of compassion, presence, care to the dying person and the family. The time ahead will be difficult but also, hopefully, filled with gifts of love. A palliative care unit is usually set up for the family to be with the dying person at all times. The staff will be offering to your mother-in law all the ways they know to decrease her pain, discomfort. They will work as a team, and iinclude you the family, I am sure, in their plan of care. 

However, for you own assurance, please check it out with the staff. And know that we here are available to you for support and a "listening ear". 
Plum1
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Reply by Digger
21 Nov 2012, 4:16 PM

Hi Lynn,

I'm reading between the lines and your desire to assist your mom-in-law in this last stage of life. Regardless of where she is physically, what she needs is someone to companion her as the inner journey unfolds. This you can do.

Not familiar with the Millar Centre out here on Vancouver Island but I know that compassionate presence is really what she needs from you now. Talk about her fears, sit with her in silence, hold her hand, massage her feet. Just showing up and allowing tells the dying one that you trust the journey and that they can too.

Dale

 
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Reply by Tian
22 Nov 2012, 3:53 AM

Dear Lyne

I think what everyone has been saying falls within Plum1's succinct summary of "The whole point of palliative care is to offer every means of compassion, presence, and care to the dying person and the family."  Your desire to know how that will be accomplished is not only understandable in itself but will also lead to improving what care you provide. And information is a two-way street so the more information the staff receive about your mother-in-law's preferences and dislikes will enhance the care they provide. So not only get information from the staff but give them information. Everybody's on the same team. But this ordeal can be an extreme grind so make sure that you don't neglect to take care of yourself.

Tian 
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Reply by moderator | modératrice
22 Nov 2012, 2:04 PM

Eureka Tian. Your message really struck the chord for me. Palliative care is where you get to give information not just receive it. That way the people caring for the patient and the family get the whole picture and can make better informed care plans and give the family tailored information. Ideally all health care should be this way.
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