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Human Right to Die a Dignified Death, a look at Hospice

Updated on May 31, 2011

The Right to die a dignified Death and Hospice

Physical death comes to us all, and there is no avoiding it.  At some point, the bodies we were given are going to give out.  My experience and volunteering with Hospice makes this process a lot better, or less negative if that were possible.  I am so impressed with the people that work and volunteer with hospice that I have no words sufficient for what they do.  Part of what they believe is that death is just another part of life, and that people deserve to die with as much dignity, peace and little pain as possible.  They absolutely achieve this, as far as I have seen.

This is a huge help to the families involved with the dying of a loved one.  Death might not be right around the corner, but for whatever reason the person is being put on hospice.  This means they can often go home, if they have been in the hospital, and they can be given medicine to be made comfortable.  Nurses and counselors are involved if need be and if wanted. 


Hospice, what are its roots

Hospice seems to be a new thing in some of our societies, but really its roots go way back to medieval times.  Back then, it was a kind of shelter for weary travelers that had gone great distances.  Over time, Hospice has turned into what we see today.  Going back to London in 1967, you will find a Dr. Cicely Saunders.  He founded St. Christopher's Hospice care for dying patients.  This concept then spread to the United States where Connecticut was first to adopt it. Over time, the idea of what Hospice is all about, caught on and it has grown throughout the United States and a lot of the rest of the world. 

This means that many dying people have been helped to get a dignified death, when death is on the horizon.   It seems so obvious a thought, but it needed to be implemented.  This is a great human right, that shouldn't be ignored if at all possible.  There is help out there for people that are dying, and for their families as well.  This is a very heart warming thing to observe in the world, and it makes me really happy that people want to help out like this.

Emphasis is on compassion and pain relief and comfort, or palliative care.  The focus is on quality of life at this point, not prolonging life.  Making it the best experience of what is left of life.  People can be put on hospice care that have been diagnosed with 6 or less months to live. 

What to expect when a loved one is in Hospice

As previously stated, both the patient and the family is embraced during this difficult time.  What is really neat is that a very specialized team of professionals that have the same philosophy, try to meet the needs of the family.  You will find trained volunteers, aides, clergy, nurses and doctors, and social workers as well.  There is often other personnel such as physical or occupational therapists as well. 

To find out more about exactly what hospice may offer to you, your family or friends, contact them directly.  There is a National Hospice Hotline Organization at 1-800-658-8898.  Or, you can type this address in your address bar at the top of your computer screen, 

I would highly recommend hospice, as these are some of the nicest people you will ever meet.  I know firsthand from both sides, how they helped our own family when my grandfather passed away.  Also a dear friend, who lost his wife to cancer, and then on to when I volunteered with Hospice and went through their training, I have been very impressed with how they try to help others have a dignified death and give such incredible support to their loved ones as well.

California Coast
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