I often share…do not fear hospice. Fear the pain and suffering that a loved one might experience when disease and trauma overtake one’s earthly body. There has always been a misguided fear of hospice. Most of the fear stems from a lack of knowledge of practices and outcomes rendering care. One misnomer that must be dispelled is that hospice is not limited to 6 months. Hospice services can extend beyond 6 months, as long as the healthcare practitioner certifies the need.
Hospice is defined as care structured to provide support to loved ones and their families when a health condition no longer responds to curative treatments. As our loved ones face many challenging health conditions, we must unselfishly determine as caregivers when hospice is justified.
The human body can withstand so many life-staggering insults—from broken bones, trauma, operations of every kind, cancers, and all their treatment modalities, chronic diseases, and everything in between.
The human body is resilient until it’s resilient no more. It becomes feeble. It becomes fatigued. It becomes diseased. Treatments that worked in the past are no longer beneficial and hospitalizations are futile.
Does that sound like your current situation? Is this a situation that you may experience in the future? We all realize God has the final say, but what are your earthly eyes and ears showing and telling you? What part of what the doctor is saying are you hearing? What are you not wanting to accept?
Sharing from experience, all of this was me, but only briefly.
I realize that as a healthcare professional, when health conditions become so challenging and complicated that the benefits out ways their outcome, that is when a new direction of care is required. It’s called… demonstrated unselfish love. Our loved ones do not have to suffer. There are available resources via hospice to help and guide caregivers.
The Hospice Foundation of America is an excellent place to begin:
As Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate, deciding to call a hospice was one of the most difficult calls I had to make. I knew I needed help as the end of life unraveled before my very eyes with my Queen. All the bells and whistles of the healthcare system were no longer needed. What was absolutely clear though, is that rest for a weary soul was the necessary recipe for my sweet mother. Was it an easy decision…yes and no. But it was the right decision. Be Safe! Be Well!
Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman is a retired registered nurse and case manager; CEO of Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate and author of From the Lens of Daughter, Nurse, and Caregiver: A Journey of Duty and Honor, and The Black Book of Important Information for Caregivers