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MacMillan Nurses. How do you get one?

(13 Posts)
Doodle2U Sat 27-Sep-08 19:03:53


My FIL is in the final stages of prostrate cancer. He's under his doctor, Christies and the oncology consultant at our local hospital. He was diagnosed 3 years ago but in the last two weeks, it's become apparent that we're talking weeks not months sad

Last week, out of the blue, a district nurse phoned my MIL and told her that they were now on the district nurse books. I don't really know what that means but the nurse said she/they could help and asked if MIL was coping. MIL said she was (she is, barely).

I know that FIL is fast approaching a time when he's going to need meds that cannot be collected down the local chemist. Also, he can barely walk now and she has to help him to the bathroom, lift him on and off the loo etc. She, incidentally, is near crippled with arthritis.

We all go in every day but FIL won't (yet) let any of us help with his very personal needs - only MIL.

So, I looked through some threads on here but I'm ashamed to say, I couldn't read too far into many of them because they were making me cry blush, hence, a fresh thread, to ask:-

Can I phone his Dr's on Monday and ask them to send a MacMillan nurse without asking MIL and FIL first OR does MIL have to do it herself? I just reckon if a nurse pitched up and sat with MIL for half an hour and explained how she could help, MIL would let her guard (pride) down and accept the proper help.

elastamum Sat 27-Sep-08 19:11:52

I would phone the GP or local hospice if he is under their care. I arranged all the care for my dad when he was dying as my mum was in no state to cope. You might want to tell her that you have done it, she will probably be relieved. The last stages of cancer can be pretty scary if you dont have the right support. We didnt know what to do but had a lovely nurse who was a great source of support. Sending you lots of hugs and good wishes

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 27-Sep-08 19:22:29


This page will be helpful to you:-

ThingOne Sat 27-Sep-08 19:23:03

You can certainly phone. They may or may not be able to help. Why don't you call the district nurses first? Does he have a specialist nurse at the hospital? What's Christies? I would also call the local hospice for advice.

You can get a lot of meds from you local chemist, you know, you just have to sign an extra form for controlled drugs. My 70 year old mum had to sign for my morphine when I was using it wink. And the chemist will probably deliver as well.

Sorry to hear things are at this stage.

megcleary Sat 27-Sep-08 19:33:19

district nurses tend to do the personal care bit and mac nurses the symptom control and psychological care and you gp should be able to refer to the mac nurses

it maybe helpful to have a district nurse pop in and chat assess needs and thay could get the macs involved also

onlyjoking9329 Sat 27-Sep-08 19:36:56

you can get a macmillan nurse through the GP hospice or district nurse.
in the end stages he may need different meds which may need administering throu a driver, we had district nurses and macmillan nurse plus 24hour care staff as my husband needed two people to move/change him, i don't think you should do it behind your MILs back as such but maybe see if you can get her to agree to it.Mac nurses are for the whole family so there is nothing to stop you talking to the Mac nurse yourself.

wishing you peace throu this difficult time.

policywonk Sat 27-Sep-08 19:41:03

Sorry to hear about your situation Doodle.

Re. the personal care/lifting stuff - I think I'm right in saying that you won't be able to find anyone who will take over this stuff at your PIL's home. If he needs to be lifted on/off toilets and into/out of baths and your MIL can no longer do it, he pretty much has to go into the hospice. It's health and safety stuff - lifting patients is too much strain on the backs of the medics.

My mother was only able to die at home because my dad, despite being 70, is super-fit and was able to lift her himself.

I hope someone comes along to contradict me on this, but it is my understanding of the situation. Does your FIL want to stay at home or is he willing to think about the hospice?

Most hospices have a family liaison contact whom you can speak to about your concerns - you don't have to be next-of-kin. Why not suggest to your MIL that you contact the hospice, have a general chat about the situation and see what your options are. Try not to worry about bawling your eyes out on the phone - I'm sure they listen to it all day long. sad

onlyjoking9329 Sat 27-Sep-08 19:46:06

we didn't have any problems with lifting with the district nurses or the agency nurses, we needed two people to lift/move steve and we used a slide sheet to help with this, you don't have to go into a hospice at any point if you don't want to, steve went into the hospice for symptom control but came home again as that was what he and i wanted.

policywonk Sat 27-Sep-08 19:50:58

Thanks OJ - I did hope that I was wrong. My dad was told that there was no way that any professional would help to lift mam - they said that she either had to be catheterized/bed-bathed, or taken into the hospice where they would use the hoist. I don't know what accounts for these differences in provision...

onlyjoking9329 Sat 27-Sep-08 21:43:05

steve wouldn't have a catheter so he had pad things which took two people to change but that was no problem

Doodle2U Sat 27-Sep-08 22:50:53

Thanks for the replies - there's something useful for us in each post!

I'm tempted to print this out and show it to DH but he broke down today, so I might hold it until tomorrow. My DH is a big, burly bruiser of a bloke, not given to extreme emotions, so it was a bit of a shocker when he cracked earlier. New territory for me and him.

FIL is so desperately thin now and he was never a big man to begin with, his son's (my DH and his two brothers) could lift him around as if he were a child TBH but we have this dignity/privacy thing going on - the poor, lovely man doesn't want his children, albeit grown-up men themselves now, seeing him and dealing with him when he is so very, very vulnerable.

Once again, thanks for the information and shared experiences. I think I know what I'm going to do now. smile

onlyjoking9329 Sun 28-Sep-08 00:59:21

that's the thing dignity, before we had any help I did have to bath Steve and help him with toileting needs and shaving and stuff, it wasn't good for Steve as he felt embarrassed and lots of other things, when we got the nurses/carers they were able to do most of those things thou Steve only wanted me to shave him. It did help a lot.

Doodle2U Sun 28-Sep-08 10:53:52

Thanks OJ.

I'll let you know how we go on. Just going to ring MIL now and see how he went on over night.

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