Monthly Archives: August 2012

Dying at Home

Home. It’s a word that has many meanings and connotations. For most of us, home is the place where we are most comfortable. It is the place where we enjoy the company of family and friends. Home is a place where we can relax and be ourselves.

Home is also one of the most important reasons people choose hospice care. Surveys have shown results stating that a huge majority of Americans would prefer to die at home, as opposed to dying in a hospital. If you have ever been a hospital in-patient, you know that while the care can be excellent, it is always a relief when you are allowed to go… home.

Home is not just a favorite chair or a view out the back window. Home is the smell of fresh coffee, bacon and microwave popcorn. Even if a patient’s appetite is curtailed, the smells of home bring pleasure and solace.

Home is a place where friends and neighbors feel more comfortable. It’s easier, in almost all cases, for them to drop by and visit a patient in his or her home than it is to visit in a hospital room. A hospital visit can involve parking garages and confusing layouts, in comparison to parking in a driveway and walking in the front door.

Home is where the pets are. Dogs and cats and other animals are important parts of our lives. Just having them around contributes to the overall feeling of contentment a person feels when at home.

Home is sound that adds to the peacefulness a patient enjoys in his or her home. That sound can be the familiar hum of a kitchen appliance or the voice of a favorite personality on radio or TV echoing in the family room.

Home is where a patient can control the thermostat or request that a caregiver make it warmer or cooler. A patient can enjoy a cozy fire in a fireplace at home…an experience that cannot be replicated at a hospital.

If you have a loved one who is currently considering hospice care or if you’re just thinking ahead to that time when your parent or spouse—or you yourself—may need end-of-life services, remember what they say: There’s No Place Like Home.

Hope Hospice provides hospice care to patients in homes throughout St. Louis city and county and in St. Charles, Franklin and Jefferson counties. Call us anytime for information at 314-984-9800.


At Hope Hospice, It’s a Team Effort

A spirit of teamwork and good communication are vital elements in the operation of a hospice care agency like Hope Hospice. To patients and families, the nurses who make multiple visits each week to patient homes are the most familiar faces of the organization. But it takes a team to care for each patient and that teamwork is demonstrated each Wednesday morning at the Hope Hospice staff meeting.

During the meeting, which generally lasts about two hours, the staff is updated on half of the patient roster. The following Wednesday, updates on the other half of the patient roster are presented.

First, the staff is told the latest evaluation of a patient’s medical condition. Then, remarks are made regarding the patient’s awareness and attitude. At this point, others may offer observations about the patient’s home situation, including family dynamics. A home health aide or other team member may suggest that a patient needs special equipment like an adjustable bed or chair. Comments can come from a chaplain, a social worker or an administrator. This information is confidential. It is shared only among hospice staff members.

If a medical staff member may mention a particular issue regarding a patient, another Hope Hospice team member may offer insight that can help resolve that issue. Sharing simple remarks about a patient’s personal likes and dislikes can help other staff members be more productive in their work with a patient. A mention of friction between particular family members can help hospice staff minimize the effects of that friction. Information that is freely shared among hospice staff helps build the team spirit and helps make our work with patients more efficient.

The weekly staff meeting at Hope Hospice allows personnel to get their questions answered by hospice leaders and administrators. The meeting lets staff get to know one another. It’s an important way to make sure that our Hope Hospice staff is not just a collection of employees but instead… a real team!







Hospice Education: YOU Can Help

In our work lives and in our personal lives, we encounter many people who have heard of hospice, but don’t know exactly what it is or how it works. We at Hope Hospice always take a moment to share the important basic information.

The mission to educate the general public about hospice care is a never-ending effort. Hospice is a vague concept to a large number of Americans, even to many senior citizens. One might think that older folks, for whom the thought of mortality becomes more real each day, would have a better understanding of hospice. But that is not always the case.

If you have had a hospice experience in your family, you can help in this ongoing campaign to inform people about hospice. When the opportunity presents itself—and it will—please share your story. We share the story of hospice via the internet, health fairs, seminars, brochures, advertising, etc. But the best way to deliver information about hospice is through word-of-mouth.

We encourage you to share with friends, family, co-workers, fellow church members and civic groups your thoughts about hospice and what hospice care meant to your loved one and your family. Tell them what you liked about the hospice care your loved one received. Tell them about things you thought could have/should have been done better. Explain that hospice allows a patient to remain in his or her home or nursing facility. Share the fact that hospice care is covered by almost all medical plans, including government programs.

We take every chance we get to explain what hospice is and why it is a vital service. Yes, of course, we want families to call Hope Hospice when there is a need for our services. But we also want people to know about this excellent service, even if they choose another hospice care agency.

Will there ever be a time when we are satisfied that enough people know what they need to know about hospice? Probably not in our lifetimes. But we continue to beat the drum, telling as many as we can about the benefits of hospice.

And we ask you to be vocal in spreading your thoughts about hospice to anyone who will listen. Thank you for helping!