Hospice – it doesn’t mean death is around the corner

Recently, I unfortunately learned a ton about Hospice Care. I never thought that I would need to call them (at least not so soon) but found that after my Dad was hospitalized for a long time, and upon his return home, his primary care physician of 10+ years recommended that we use Hospice.

With a gasp of surprise, she realized that I was of the “old school” and thought that Hospice is called in when someone is literally on his “death bed.” This is NOT the case.

In fact, nurses, physical therapists and home health aids are all available to work with families to help them in a variety of ways. EACH case is evaluated independently. If your loved one has an incurable disease and is deteriorating and needs medical assistance, it pays to CALL THEM.

Also, it helps to become extremely organized (especially if you are the daughter or son of the loved one needing help). Make lots of charts. Right down names and contact numbers, responsibilities of who is doing what and when, and most importantly … if you do not feel that the Hospice worker assigned to you is the “right” match, then by all means ask for a different case manager or a different aid. Not everyone “clicks” and gets along with your style. It is perfectly OK to request someone else to care for your loved one if you don’t feel the level of care is adequate or if personalities don’t mesh.

As the Hospice website states,

“When is the right time to ask about hospice? Now is the best time to learn more about hospice care and ask questions about what to expect. Although end-of-life care may be difficult to discuss, it is best for loved ones and family members to share their wishes long before it becomes a concern. This can greatly reduce stress when the time for hospice becomes apparent. By having these discussions in advance, uncomfortable situations can be avoided. Instead, educated decisions can be made that include the advice and input of loved ones. “
As for my family, well, sum it up to say that running a business, juggling 3 kids and a husband (often a kid himself) and dealing with 2 other sets of aging parents can be stressful. As a Mom and business owner being pulled from all sides, my only advise to others is to eat right, exercise, get a good massage, enjoy great sex in between running to and from the hospitals, and partake in a fabulous Merlot from time to time. del.icio.us del.icio.us  |  digg it!  |  reddit reddit!  |  Google!

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