Thinking about Hospice

By Joyce Dennison

Many readers liked and discussed the article about hospice that Jerrie Lea and I wrote last month.  She is away, so I will try to address some of the questions and comments from last month’s article on her experience with her late husband Ron and hospice.  She used Hospice of the Valley, as Good Samaritan Society hospice did not cover Congress, but Good Sam will be at our Health Expo Fair on Sept. 30th this year.  If you have further questions after this article, they would be happy to help.

One question that came up was timing.  When is it time for hospice?  Your doctor will address this with you but the basic rule in the U.S. is when the illness is no longer helped with treatments, and when  6 months or less of life  is expected, then its time for hospice.

Most people only have one complaint about hospice:  “I waited too long.”  Hospice brings great services into your home, or provides residence for rest and respite for the family.  If you wait until your loved one is in the stage of dying, those services do not get to be used.  It’s really best to err on the side of caution and have hospice earlier rather than too close to death, as the quality of life is wonderful when a person’s pain is managed in hospice care and all the nursing needs are met.  Hospice is a lovely time to remember stories together, and look at photos of the family and patient’s life.  When people wait until someone is actively dying – either unconscious or unable to breath and enjoy family visits – then hospice is not as valuable to them.

Anyone is eligible for hospice services;  approximately  half of hospice patients are cancer related diagnosis. Sometimes in aging, it can just be ‘failure to thrive’, and it’s better to be in hospice care and have good quality of life without pain and suffering.

Hospice provides such wonderful services of home care, therapy, enrichment, spiritual and emotional visits. When one is facing the end of life, hospice is really a “why not” question.  Why not have all those services and enrichment that will make you more comfortable?

If you have more questions, Good Samaritan Society hospice in Prescott (928.778.5655) will be happy to talk to you about those questions, or you can find the hospice staff at our local Health Expo Fair on Sept. 30, 2023 .

As Cicely Saunders, the founder of the hospice movement said, “You matter because of who you are. You matter until the last moment of your life.”