Yet again the other day I heard of a family being offered hospice care for a loved one and turning it down. There seems to be this prevailing mythology out there that hospice means you’re giving up hope and trying to rush someone along into the afterlife before his or her time. Nothing could be further from the truth. Accepting hospice for someone who is terminally ill can be the kindest, most compassionate thing you can do for that person and for the family.
First of all, just because your relative is in hospice does not mean they can no longer receive care from their primary care physician. It also doesn’t mean that this person is necessarily going to die. It only means that there has been a diagnosis of terminal illness. If remission occurs, that’s fantastic! People can go in and out of hospice multiple times if needed.
Furthermore, hospice staff is not some type of death squad. They are quite often the most caring and dedicated medical professionals you’ll ever meet. They do not focus on death. On the contrary, they focus on quality of life for everyone involved.
Hospice offers a variety of services, including counseling, pain management, and palliative care. They provide dignity, comfort and emotional support. Their staff includes nurses, doctors, home health aides, social workers, chaplains and bereavement counselors.
At this, the most difficult time in your life, why on earth would you turn down any type of support? Your loved one deserves to live a dignified and comfortable life all the time, even toward the end, if that’s what this happens to be. Hospice means that you want the best for that person. Don’t pass these services up. I’ve never known anyone who wasn’t extremely grateful for them if they chose to take advantage.
[Image credit: floridahospices.org]