We made a critical decision just after Yom Kippur re: my Mother (Chaya bat Malka), to go with Hospice Care and I realize that the issue of Hospice care is controversial and misunderstood by many in the Frum Community. My Mother was discharged from the hospital on Tuesday night and was transported back home to her apartment in their Assisted Living Facility to be with my 96 year old Father under the aegis of the Vitas Hospice team All care will be administered to my Mother in the comfort of their apartment at “The Bridge.”
This Hospice care will be endeavoring to find soft foods for nutrition, hydration which my Mother would be able to ingest by mouth without complication, i.e. regurgitation, etc. and will work on adjusting things such as her posture when eating, etc. to B’ezrat Hashem enable her to get nutrition and stay hydrated (water). This is crucial for her.
This evolves out out my family’s decision to have my Mother serviced by Hospice while being at home with my Father in their assisted living apartment at “The Bridge” in Lauderhill, FL, rather than to have invasive procedures on a 91 year old woman who can’t swallow, or can’t swallow the vast majority of foods, liquids, has internal bleeding from an unknown source and who has been on cumedin blood thinner and other medications. Such invasive procedures as a tube down her throat and a peg-tube through belly into stomach would have precluded her from returning to the assisted living facility which she and my Father love and in which they are receiving excellent care. “The Bridge” does not have facilities to enable handling someone who would have this peg-tube procedure as a means of providing nutrition and hydration. To have opted for the peg-tube procedure would have meant uprooting one or both my parents, both in 90s, perhaps separating them such that they would both suffer and this suffering inevitably would be life-threatening for the both of them. It is mental mindset, quality of life issues and that my parents are secular Jews — I have to go with the flow and not impose frum standards upon them.
My Mother was in the Hospital since just before Rosh Hashana and in the Critical Care Unit until either the day before Yom Kippur or Motsei Yom
Kippur when she was placed in a regular room 209B. I was told by one or two CCU nurses that my Mother had been given applesauce, chocolate pudding and crushed ice by mouth with no complications, no regurgitation, although I am told by the Hospice team that these facts did not appear, or eluded (my word) the hospital’s patient records. Therefore, the Hospice team will hopefully, in my words, be able to extrapolate from the above and to find and administer nutrients and hydration to her orally in coordination with the nursing staff at “The Bridge.”
Further, the Hospice care she is now receiving is from one of the best, if not THE best Hospice care organization in the US — Vitas Hospice care in Florida which is accredited by the NIJH (National Institute of Jewish Hospice) whose President and Founder is Rabbi Dr. Maurice Lamm, a Modern Orthodox Rav, and brother of Rabbi Dr Norman Lamm, former president of Yeshiva University. I came to become aware of the NIJH through Google searches re: Jewish Hospice.
I personally spoke with Rabbi Dr. Lamm and his Rebbetzin who had good things to say about Vitas Hospice care, as does the head nurse at “The Bridge” and my parents’ financial consultant in Florida.