The view through the double glass doors is of a lovely garden; the autumn colors striking against the blue October sky. Our friend rests peacefully in the room’s only bed, and we each spend a few moments with her. At times it seems she knows we are there, although we come mostly now to comfort her family. It is a sad time; we grieve for the loss we are all about to share, and seek ways to comfort those she held most dear.
We are all thankful that she is here, in this quiet, restful place. A nurse stops by to tell family how she did during the night, and to share what they’ve done to make her more comfortable. Someone comes by a moment later with a sandwich, encouraging our friend’s husband to take care of himself, reminding him that there is coffee in the nearby kitchen.
The visit brings back memories, my father spent his final hours here a few years ago, and we too were comforted by the care he received. We feel fortunate to have this Hospice facility close by.
Hospital and nursing home staff members are trained to work toward improvement and rehabilitation for their patients; as a consequence, they are often not as skilled in providing comfort care to those for whom improvement is no longer a possibility. Should the need arise, I encourage you to look for Hospice care in your area.
Hospice is a special concept of care designed to provide comfort and support to patients and their families when a life-limiting illness no longer responds to cure-oriented treatments.
- Hospice care neither prolongs life nor hastens death. Hospice staff and volunteers offer a specialized knowledge of medical care, including pain management.
- The goal of hospice care is to improve the quality of a patient’s last days by offering comfort and dignity.
- Hospice care is provided by a team-oriented group of specially trained professionals, volunteers and family members.
- Hospice addresses all symptoms of a disease, with a special emphasis on controlling a patient’s pain and discomfort.
- Hospice deals with the emotional, social and spiritual impact of the disease on the patient and the patient’s family and friends.
- Hospice offers a variety of bereavement and counseling services to families before and after a patient’s death.