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Looking after Dad

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pds2008
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Looking after Dad

#113587

Postby pds2008 » January 26th, 2018, 10:43 pm

Hi all

Feeling a bit in need of some inspiration or advice (even if it is just man up)

My Dad, who I love and admire, is 85. He has just come back to the family home to receive palliative care until then end. It is his wish and I totally respect it. And neither he nor I are alone - my sisters and brother and a few grandkids are here to help but there are logistical difficulties as most of us live in another part of the UK with family, work and other commitments. The result is that Dad's care is built around three home visits from hospice nurses, and the rest of the 24/7 care down to us on a sort of rota.

Tonight was his first night back and it was a struggle helping him to use the commode, get comfortable in bed, and relax despite the best efforts of three of us. Health care professionals are such for a reason and that has become apparent.

My issue is as follows: I am due to finish my current job at the end of February - I live and work 400 miles away. I have worked there for 10 years and am beginning to prepare my handover of project responsibilities. I am taking voluntary redundancy so there is a payoff at then end. Right now I just want to be here for Dad because he has been there for me my whole life. Leaving this little rock with dignity is the least I can help him with.

Do I phone my boss on Monday and say - "sorry, but I won't be back to work unless Dad dies between now and the end of next month"?

Any advice out there? or maybe a few shared experiences to help me out

Yell

Dod101
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Re: Looking after Dad

#113589

Postby Dod101 » January 26th, 2018, 10:53 pm

First of all I have no answer, but your obvious concern for your father must come first. If you feel you must call the boss on Monday that is what you must do. There is frankly no other answer, never mind the material gains. I have some experience of this. Otherwise you will never forgive yourself.

Your boss must answer for himself but of course I can see his situation as well.

Good luck

Dod

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Re: Looking after Dad

#113591

Postby kiloran » January 26th, 2018, 11:01 pm

Sorry to hear about your predicament, you are definitely between a rock and a hard place. Well, maybe not.... any sensible company would say that family must come first, and make the decision for you. You only get this one chance to help your dad, you don't want to have any regrets or if-onlys afterwards.

I know nothing about your job, but can you handle the handover by teleworking? For the last few years of my working life, I spent the majority of my time working from home. Partly for work reasons (early morning meetings with the far east, day meetings with europe and evening meetings with the states..... not enough time for travel to the office!) and partly to enable me to help support my in-laws. It worked very well indeed, the nature of my job enabled me to do 99% of my work on the phone in conference calls and sharing information via the laptop.

Hope it all goes as well as it can in the difficult circumstances.

--kiloran

pds2008
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Re: Looking after Dad

#113594

Postby pds2008 » January 26th, 2018, 11:16 pm

Thanks Kiloran and Dod101

I am sure I can come to an arrangement with work - after an initial reaction my boss is definitely a pragmatic soul - and I will happily offer to give assistance remotely after my leave date.

Fortunately (un) I am working on an ERP project which is a total train wreck and will continue to be so long after I bugger off. I just need to persuade the boss that her life was painful before I left, is painful now, and will be painful when I am gone.

Maybe I'll just bribe her with wine - works for me

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Re: Looking after Dad

#113611

Postby redsturgeon » January 27th, 2018, 8:22 am

Yes there is an answer...your father comes before the job. Well done for being there wanting to do the best for him.

John

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Re: Looking after Dad

#113622

Postby midnightcatprowl » January 27th, 2018, 9:48 am

Looking away from the job issue, you may want to keep an open mind on the subject of where your father ends his life. As you've already discovered medical professionals are medical professionals for a reason and it can be very difficult to provide the same level of care yourself, especially if the care is shared between a variety of people. My point is that while it sounds only reasonable that your father would like to spend the end of his life in the family home and it sounds very noble that you are all willing to try to make this work, sometimes these situations work well but sometimes they don't work out in the way expected but people stick to them from determination on the side of the carers and unwillingness on the part of the patient to say or do anything which would imply that their family are not actually managing to give them adequate care no matter how hard they try.

I have actually been involved in such a situation. After a close friend's husband was told that his condition was terminal he was very anxious to leave hospital and spend his remaining time at home. My friend was determined to facilitate this and fortunately had a very co-operative local GP surgery plus the finance to buy in all the things needed to make him comfortable. After he'd been home a while it became apparent that though he'd thought he'd be happy there actually he wasn't and he was distressed but finding it hard to admit. In the end he spent the last days of his life in the local hospice in the greatest peace and comfort. His family were still around him but the difference lay in trained and understanding staff being immediately available when needed to move him, to give pain relief, etc etc. It was not what had been planned and my friend was initially devastated that actually home care didn't work out in the way everyone, including the patient, imagined it would, but in the end her husband had a 'good' end to his life and was actually calm and happy in a place no one had expected him to be.

pds2008
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Re: Looking after Dad

#113688

Postby pds2008 » January 27th, 2018, 3:39 pm

Thanks for the responses.

My mum died about two years ago and spent her final days in a hospice where she was superbly looked after, as were the family with visiting times, relaxed environment, and specialist staff.

Dad's greatest fear was a nursing home, and I think him being at home is better than the lottery of where he may end up. My other brother/sisters have different views of the hospice vs home argument, especially because dad is conscious and able to communicate. Having said that, I am not sure he realises he is at home.

We have decided to up the This would change our role from being active participants in his care to that of being there for him as family. Hopefully it can be organised quickly and help him feel more comfortable and maintain his dignity.

Anyway, I appreciate having a non family sounding board

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Re: Looking after Dad

#113854

Postby sg31 » January 28th, 2018, 6:05 pm

Hi pds2008, I hope things go well for you and dad. If you look after him at home it will be hard work both physically and mentally. Don't expect any help from carers or any 'Hospice at Home' service, sometimes they are good sometimes they are dreadful.

If dad is near the end you will be ok if you have one or two helpers, You may be needed 24 hours a day so try to get someone else to provide the occasional night cover so you can get a proper nights sleep. If it is likely to be longer I doubt you will be able to cope without 4 or 5 people taking turns. That is the reality so if you find you aren't coping don't beat yourself up about it just call for help and get professional care in a hospice or care home.

Feel free to post about any problems you may encounter, if we can't point you in the right direction we can at least provide sympathy and moral support.

All the best.

pds2008
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Re: Looking after Dad

#113880

Postby pds2008 » January 28th, 2018, 9:10 pm

Thanks again everyone

Tonight is night 3 and Dad is a lot more comfortable - he is not yet in the situation where he has no understanding of his surroundings and looks comfortable, almost his old self at times. This gives me some comfort and joy. We have decided to pay for night time support to supplement the day care provided via the hospice. We have been given the name of a local agency with a great reputation (they pay more).

We have also collectively come to the conclusion that there will come a time, probably in the next 2 weeks, when we have to look at hospice care.

It's all about him - he is comfortable, relaxed, pain free and surrounded by people who love him - not a bad way to go.

I have made a silent promise when I retire this year to volunteer one day per week at a local hospital, hospice or care home to act as a companion to someone. It will be a minor tribute to the "big man"

Thanks again - any support means something (especially because family members can, frankly, be a pain in the Pink marshmallows)

P

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Re: Looking after Dad

#113882

Postby kiloran » January 28th, 2018, 9:18 pm

pds2008 wrote:I have made a silent promise when I retire this year to volunteer one day per week at a local hospital, hospice or care home to act as a companion to someone. It will be a minor tribute to the "big man"
P

Good for you! You'll enjoy it.

Our local hospice were superb for my mother-in-law, so for the past 8 years I've paying them back by driving patients to hospital for treatment and consultations. I meet some great people, and I know it makes a real difference to the patients and their families. Love it!

--kiloran

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Re: Looking after Dad

#113885

Postby Dod101 » January 28th, 2018, 9:56 pm

My wife died at home (as she wanted) nearly two years ago and her GP organised for Marie Curie nursing if required at night. They were superb, both during the day and at night. They provide end of life care, not just cancer care.

I also had great help during the day from community nurses (NHS) and that I suspect depends very much where you live, a bit of a postcode lottery.

So I would say do not be afraid to ask for help. It is available.

Dod

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Re: Looking after Dad

#113887

Postby beeswax » January 28th, 2018, 10:51 pm

Hi Yell,

Thanks for pointing me here and thanks for your kind email. I guess you and your family will decide the right course of action that will be just fine given the circumstances. I have mixed feelings and understand completely why probably all of us want to spend our last days in our home with family and familiar surroundings and I would too. I don't doubt my MIL who is in care home would too but her circumstances would not facilitate that very easy as she has severe dementia and has physical needs means me and my wife could not handle them as she (MIL) needs round the clock care too. She doesn't even remember where she lived for the last 40 years in her house and so even if we could look after her, she wouldn't know the difference where that is...And although care homes are not everyone's cup of tea, they mostly do a good job and have the training to do that plus any medical emergencies that may crop up such as oxygen or pain relief..

It's hard for me to say but I'm sure you and your Boss can come to some arrangement that will suit all of you without having to give up your job completely even if its part working from home and part going into the office etc?

God bless you and thanks for sharing something that most of us will probably experience one day...

Mike

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Re: Looking after Dad

#113888

Postby gryffron » January 28th, 2018, 11:34 pm

Sorry to hear about your dad.

pds2008 wrote:Do I phone my boss on Monday and say - "sorry, but I won't be back to work unless Dad dies between now and the end of next month"?

I think that's a bad idea. Worst case, they might take it as a resignation or breach of contract, and thus revoke your redundancy and payout.

I would suggest you go to work Monday, tell them all about the situation, and point out that it is very much in THEIR interests to have you spin out your last month's work as long term telephone support, over the next 12 months say. Handovers never succeed in covering everything. There's bound to be questions they want to ask you after you have left. This way, both sides win. You get to spend some time with your dad, and they're not left in the lurch with no access to your expertise and knowledge.

Just hope you have a boss with the imagination to work it in a way that suits both sides.

Gryff

pds2008
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Re: Looking after Dad

#114295

Postby pds2008 » January 30th, 2018, 4:26 pm

A quick update - On the positive side Dad is a lot more settled and sleeps through the night and much of the day. He will be sleeping more often as he slips away but is comfortable and in no pain. The main physical (and stressful) burden of catering to his minimal need for the toilet has been alleviated by the use of special pads - we just have to remind him that this is ok. We have a rota of his children that is here for him and we have coordinated with our respective employers and families. Nobody has had an issue with either.

My own boss has been great and we have agreed a pattern for me to work Thu-Fri in Scotland and have Sun-Wed with Dad in England.

Lack of staff in the public and private sector for night time cover means that will be an occasional luxury to give us a night off.

I am personally feeling a lot better about things and able to concentrate on giving dad the rest and peace he needs in the comfort of his home. It's all about him.

Thanks again to those who provided advice and support.

Yell


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