‘Hospice’ is not a dreaded word

“Hospice” is a word no family wants to hear. When you’ve been fighting an illness for many years, even decades, or have just learned of a new disease, hearing that your loved one needs hospice care can be devastating. And receiving word that hospice is being “called in” for a community member triggers the thought process that they are in their final days or even hours.

But what if I told you that what you know about hospice care probably isn’t accurate? What if I told you that choosing hospice doesn’t mean you’re “giving up”? That getting hospice care doesn’t mean your family member is going to die tomorrow…or even next week?

Choosing hospice care, or “comfort care,” simply means you are done seeking aggressive or curative treatment; and, if the disease runs its course without treatment, death would occur in about six months. It does not mean that your family member will definitely die in that time, but typically that is what is seen with that particular disease.

The most common illness people think of with “comfort care” is cancer. Maybe your doctor has told you there’s nothing more they can do to treat your family member’s cancer. Or maybe they are tired of going to chemotherapy and radiation appointments and just want enjoy time with you family. Both of those situations would be candidates to receive hospice care. However, there are many more illnesses that can benefit from “comfort care”: Heart diseases such as Congestive Heart Failure (CHF), lung disease such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), neurological disease such as Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson’s, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, liver diseases, stroke (CVA), and many more.

If your loved one has one of the above diseases and/or has any of the following, please consider contacting Hospice of Hope for further evaluation: frequent hospitalizations or ER visits in the last six months; an increase in weight loss, tiredness, weakness; or has had recurrent infections, changes in their mental status or lost the ability to do things independently. Any person, even a family member, can refer someone to hospice services…it only takes one phone call. At Hospice of Hope, our goal is to remove some of the burden of being a caregiver and allow you to just be family during this time by providing you with friendly, local staff that truly cares. By choosing hospice, you aren’t giving up…you are giving hope.

Our RN Case Managers, Nurse Aides, Social Workers, Chaplains and Volunteers visit frequently to ensure your loved one is as comfortable, but as present, as possible. Hospice of Hope also has trained staff that provides “complimentary” therapies such as massage, music, aroma, and pet therapies. We also have the only in-patient hospice care center located in Adams County Regional Medical Center which is available for respite care, pain or symptom management, or to be used during the final days when your loved one can no longer be cared for at home.

Don’t wait until “it’s time.” Talk to hospice about your loved one’s condition and see if you or they are eligible for hospice care. Death is unavoidable but you get to choose how well you live until that time.