Why choose hospice? The word hospice often brings negative emotions like fear and failure and worries about the cost.
Many families are not ready to let their family member go or they are angry that they do not have more time. I experienced these emotions as my mother-in-law, Barbara, was struggling to breathe with her chronic condition of heart failure. Her son was very adamant that if she got up and walked around with the assistance of a physical therapist or stopped taking her medications she would get better and live a long time. I could see the signs of her decline and realized she needed additional help with basic activities like bathing, dressing and transfers. After several family conferences, the family agreed to place her on hospice.
The hospice services provided a nurse on a regular basis to help manage her pain and other health conditions that come with living with a chronic illness. A physician trained in palliative care directed the management of her care. Hospice aides helped in keeping her clean and well groomed. Additional emotional support came from an involved Medical Social Worker. Barbara enjoyed having the opportunity to unpack her life with a Chaplin and resolving past issues with her spirituality. An added bonus was the music therapist, who played songs of her youth and often would ease her breathing by the type of music which he played. Barbara became very close to those who served her at this critical time of her life.
The biggest miracle of hospice was mending of family relationships which had become strained. Forgiveness was given for mistakes of the past and the family was able to heal. When Barbara passed there was a sweet peace that filled the room.
Hospice is a way of caring that brings comfort to persons living with a terminal illness, and gives support to them as well as to their families. As a family member, I am grateful for the hospice services which are available. What is so helpful to families in this situation, Medicare pays 100% of all of these necessary services.
Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by Kris Carter. Kris Carter is the Executive Director of Aspire Home Health and Hospice and may be reached at 801-292-0296 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.