[A case report of the patient at a terminal stage of stomach cancer, who had a visiting nurse].Gan To Kagaku Ryoho. 2001 Dec; 28 Suppl 1:123-5.GT
We have started the visiting nurse system in our Kimitsu Central Hospital since September 1990, and have currently had 33 patients with 4 visiting nurses as of February 2001. Out of these 33 patients with the visiting nurse system, 9 patients are at a terminal stage of diseases. In the present study, we reported here a case of a 63 year-old female patient, who was at a terminal stage of stomach cancer and wished to have a regular home life, having a visiting nurse at home. The patient was not informed of her diagnosis as a cancer, but was convinced of her symptoms by her primary care physician that she was under a good care. Meanwhile, the patient showed less pain than that she was expected to have as a patient at the terminal stage of cancer. A daughter of the patient (actual caretaker) was first considering of hospitalization as an inpatient. However, since the patient strongly desired to stay and get care at home, the caretaker started a dual life of taking care of her mother at home and of raising children in parallel, in aware of a case of pronouncing death at home. While the patient's condition was relatively stable, the good quality of life (QOL) was maintained as she could make a trip of one-night stay. As the symptom progressed, however, the caretaker had a high anxiety with a pressure of accepting her own mother's death. On the other hand, a visiting nurse, who understood the patient's strong desire to stay at home and live her life as usual, also assisted in reducing the caretaker's high anxiety. Therefore, the visiting nurse basically assumed one possibility that the patient would die at home, but also prepared for the another possibility that the caretaker could choose to send her mother back to hospital whenever she felt her limit for being a caretaker. Moreover, the visiting nurse supported the patient and her family with an encouragement that they could live their favorable life till the end. As a result, the caretaker could continue to keep the patient at home, although she had a tremendous fear about taking care of her at home. When the patient's condition suddenly changed and got worsened, however, the caretaker desired to have her mother stay and get medicated in the hospital. Thus, the patient was sent to our hospital by ambulance. Although the caretaker did not have her mother die at home under her direct care, she recognized the great advantages in having a visiting nurse, who really assisted them well. Thus, it was confirmed that participation of a visiting nurse in the home healthcare could give the patient and her family a better, satisfactory life till the end. In general, although the patients or their family members wish to stay home and to have a home healthcare service, their desire or mind can be easily changed according to their situation. Especially in a case of the patient at a terminal stage, the family can be easily influenced by the condition of progression of the disease. One of the major roles of visiting nurses is always to understand the feelings of the patients and family and to prepare for the best as they can.