From DNR to DNH

I've been away and am now back. I took off to New Zealand for 3 weeks and had a wonderful time with a dear old friend. I highly recommend that everyone take a visit to this most beautiful country. So back to business...I worked last night taking care of this wonderful 99 year old woman. She was the same as before I left. Solitary, sleeping and eating mostly. Her daughter was up visiting this weekend. We sat and chatted for about an hour. Lovely modern woman in her 70s, she's almost as old as my mother. Never been married, no children, that's why she looks so young. Anyway...Like most people over 90 these days or even 85 there is a DNR instruction above the bed. It stands for Do Not Resuscitate. This means if the person is unconscious or not responsive no extreme measures are to be taken to reinstall life. At that age many people make the decision to move on gracefully. No one seems to want to live any longer than they have to. People are entering their 90s and 100s with nothing to do or way to feel useful. It's terribly sad. They don't want to live any more, their families don't want them to live any more and yet they keep going on and on and on and on. Especially when living in these artificial environments such are retirement homes and villages. They are safe and sound but they certainly prolong the life span. Add to that the companion care and you can live til 105.The latest development to come out of this is the DNH which stands for Do Not Hospitalize. Unless the patient has fallen and broken something DO Not send them to the Hospital. Heart attack? Keep them home and comfortable in their bed. Stroke? Keep them home and comfortable in their bed? UTI? Keep them home and comfortable and it goes on. No one at 90 or 100 wants to be prodded and poked at the hospital. No one wants to have a battery of tests done. They know what's wrong with them, they don't want $500 worth of tests to tell them that they are old and getting older... we all know that.The kinks haven't been worked out yet but this new order is bound to be a hit. There are of course going to have to be some guide lines and safety measures to keep the care givers from liability but when it's all worked out it will be a blessing. Just you wait.

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