Why do people wait so long to learn about hospice? Is it because we don’t like to talk about death? Is it because hospice doesn’t get the media attention that other types of health care do? Is it because we think we know what hospice is… sort of?
Before you go out to a nice restaurant, you look at online reviews and menus. When you are planning home improvements, you ask your neighbors about their experiences with kitchen remodelers, etc. Before you take a road trip with the family, you make sure your car or truck is in good running condition. When you’re planning to go shopping, you check the mailer you received for specials and coupons.
We all make preparations for life and its big events. Isn’t the end of life a big event? Why do we put everything related to death off until the last minute? You and I are both destined to die. Mortality is certain.
You may have given thought to what you want to happen to your body after your passing. Burial? Cremation? Donation for medical research? If that’s the case, then why would you not give some thought to last few months of your or your loved one’s life?
Here is a scenario that happens too often: A doctor tells a patient that treatment is no longer having a positive effect and that she or he should prepare to face death. The doctor also encourages the patient to check out hospice care. The news that death is likely within a few months can be devastating—for the patient and the patient’s family. In the fog of this upset, the doctor’s suggestion of a call to hospice is often delayed or, even, ignored or forgotten.
Hope Hospice frequently gets calls from families whose loved one is within hours or days of passing. Had these families known more about hospice and the services provided, they might have called Hope Hospice much earlier in the dying process and received the full range of services.
Even if you and all your family members are in the best of health, you need to learn about hospice and all the services that come along as part of hospice care. When you see an item about hospice in a newspaper or magazine or online, take a moment to read it. Do a web search for local hospices and read the content on their websites. Here is a link to ours: hopehospicestl.com. When a friend or family member talks about experiences with hospice, ask questions.
Familiarity with hospice can help you make good decisions during that period of extreme stress and turmoil that follows a doctor’s diagnosis. It can lead you to ask the right questions as you determine which hospice is the right one for your loved one and your family.