Monday, March 07, 2005

Love & Death

My last post was about my mother's stroke just before Christmas. Two weeks after being admitted to hospital, mom was assessed and sent home to recover. She was not admitted to a recovery faciity as none was available in her town. Had she been "at death's door" (so to speak), some poor old soul would have been bumped from the line up and mom would have been admitted. We were informed that long term health care philosophy was to send patients home with some public support systems. It would be the responsibility of the family to look after their ailing senior. Primary support would be expected from family members, secondary support would be visitations by a homecare worker, and tertiary support would be a weekly/biweekly visit from a nurse. This sounds highly expensive and it is. However, it is actually much more cost effective than hospital care.
Sending mom home seemed inhumane at the time - mom couldn't walk without help, she had lost her voice, and her house was not suitable for an invalid (we thought). I now think that the policy is a good one as everyone wants and needs the security of their own home and if they are dying, that is where they want to die. Some make it and live a while longer and some don't. The point being that at least they are at home.
The main problem with the system to my mind, is that not everyone has loving family members who can provide loving support. Then again, they may be the lucky ones. They are taken care of in their own homes by professionals visiting a few times a day, who then leave them in peace to lay there until such time as the next visit. Maybe a radio is left on for the poor soul to listen to. Quite likely social service volunteers come and stay with them. Now, the lucky patient with the loving family members, is lying in bed and listening to the loving family members who are all in the house quarreling about what is best for the patient and fighting the same old family feuds. Lucky indeed!

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