The Truth Every Person Should Know About Hospice Care
My father was diagnosed with cancer in 2009.
By the time he found out, the disease had spread far beyond the scope of modern medicine. Our relationship had been rocky to say the least, and I found myself dazed and confused when I got the call from him on the 4th of July that year. The news took a day to set in on me and then I found myself intent on going to be with him to be by his side. My fiancé and I departed for Florida 2 days later. We arrived to a good bit of confusion. My aunt and uncle had gotten there before us, and the plans were in place to take my "Pops" to Hospice. Even though I was against it, the papers were signed and we all waited for the time to come. We didn't have to wait long. His fate had been sealed by the cancer taking over his body, and within a few weeks, he was taken to the hospice. Here is what I learned.
Hospice is not designed to prolong life
I do not want to give hospice care a bad name. They provide a great service to the community. I am sure that every situation is unique, but any time a person is headed for hospice care they are terminally ill. Accepting that a loved one will have to receive this type of care is difficult, I can attest to that. However, I would have thought that a place like a hospice would promote life to it's end. That is where I found some areas of discomfort with their policies. The nurses and doctors there will give patients unheard of amounts of medication. I respect that the patients are in great pain, but the staff knows those same medications shorten their patient's life. The hospice crew where we were gave my dad enough pain medication to kill an elephant. I expressed concern to the doctors about the strength and amount of medication that my father was receiving and learned that my aunt was giving the orders. Even though they had her permission, the staff was giving my dad way too much. That type of procedure was something that I would have never expected from a "medical care" center. I associated the treatment of my father more with Dr. Kevorkian than with a hospital. They helped my aunt usher him to his death.
I must be fair to both sides of this issue.
I was not patronizing when I said they provide a valuable service to the community. When a person is beyond saving and ready to meet God, hospice is a wonderful place. The nurses and doctors are friendlier than you find most places, and they know the little tricks that help the terminally ill pass with dignity. My father's nurses were all very kind to us, even though I gave them a bunch of crap about the medications. His death was tough for me, and I made it tough on them. My situation aside, hospice rooms are very well sanitized. The maids cleaned frequently and they cleaned well. I must admit to being grateful for that, because it was one less thing that I had to worry about. His room was private and large. The view out of the window was exceptional. They had beautiful cobble stone gardens outside as well. My fiancé and I walked through them while I tried to deal with the grief I was experiencing. Wildlife lurked around every turn. The landscapers had planted rows or colorful flowers along the paths. There were plaques on the walkway dedicated to those who had passed before my father at this place, and spaces for many, many more.....
Video: What Is Hospice Care?
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