Live more fully, right up to the end.
Why are we so afraid of death? We know for certain that it’s coming, don’t we? I don’t know of anyone who has escaped it. Cheated it a few times, certainly, but in the end we all succumb. Why the heck am I talking about death on a health and wellness blog?! I am dedicated to being that little drop that causes a ripple that helps everyone to live with a better quality of life. So I ask you to please read on. This is, I believe, a very important post.
We know death is permanent. We know there will be a tremendous sense of loss when a loved one dies. Quite often we are just not ready to accept it, or our doctors or loved ones are not ready to “give up.” But by accepting the inevitable once the time comes, and embracing it, we can finish our days in comfort and dignity, surrounded by loved ones. Isn’t that what we all want?
Hospice. The word makes people turn away. The word itself is taboo. It means “I’m going to die,” they say. Hospice care is extremely misunderstood. Hospice comes into play after we have already learned that our life is coming to a close. It does not invoke death. It does not bring it on sooner. It is not meant to prolong life either. It has one purpose and one purpose alone. Comfort. Hospice serves the whole patient and that includes their loved ones.
I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to work for a hospice company. It was such a wonderful learning experience. I had a very narrow belief that hospice is “for people who are dying,” and that hospice is called in “during the last few days of life.” I had no idea how wrong I was.
Hospice is a philosophy that utilizes palliative healthcare along with an interdisciplinary team to take care of the entire terminally ill patient; physically, spiritually, emotionally, and socially. Hospice offers specially trained doctors, nurses, social workers, home health aides, non-denominational clergy, volunteers, and much, much more. It aids the caregivers and loved ones in much the same way, including support with difficult and confusing matters and with respite care, as well as bereavement counseling.
We often see death as “a painful truth.” But hospice is designed to help us through that difficult time. Hospice services can be used for six months (sometimes longer), saving us money on medical supplies, equipment, and medication, and possibly most importantly allowing the patient to stay comfortable in their own surroundings without expensive and painful trips to the hospital.
Hospice is all about palliative care, about comfort. It is about adding life to the days when there are no more days to be added to life. For a comprehensive overview of what hospice is and what it does, see: Medicare Hospice Benefits. The majority of hospices are Medicare certified and provide all of these services as needed.
Bottom line: Please reconsider your beliefs and preconceptions about hospice so that when the unfortunate time comes when you or a loved-one is going to be leaving us, you can help them to live more fully and with dignity right up until the end.
This has been a short overview of what hospice is. I hope to write another on some of the common myths and misconceptions that prevent people from utilizing this phenomenal resource in the near future.
I welcome your story in the comments section. Do you have experience with hospice? Will you share it with us?