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Geraldine Graduated from Hospice

Geraldine was admitted to hospice because her primary care doctor thought that given her condition she probably wouldn’t be alive in six months. This is the criteria for admission for anyone. Geraldine had lost quite a bit of weight over three months, was falling a few times a week and was sleeping most of the day away. According to her records, Geraldine was resistant to care so she was on medication to calm her down. She was taking one ibuprofen at bedtime for a history of severe arthritis pain, and her blood pressure was very low.

It turned out that she was resistant to care because she was in pain, so we changed her pain medication regime. Her blood pressure was low because she was on two blood pressure medications so we discontinued one of them. She probably fell because she was dizzy when she stood up. Geraldine was sleepy because the medicine to calm her was sedating her; we soon discontinued it completely.

Sometimes we find elderly people managed by several doctors, all prescribing medications – too many medications. Or, the elderly can’t handle their medication strengths anymore. Aging kidneys and livers don’t process medications as effectively and medication levels can build in the blood causing problems. Within six weeks on hospice, Geraldine was eating 100% of all of her meals, walking independently with a walker and a joy to be around. Geraldine graduated from our service. Not everybody dies when admitted to hospice.

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