Can hospice be a luxury? Yes. Not in the sense of sumptuous, indulgent living, but in the sense of providing a high level of physical comfort and mental well being to those who have received a terminal diagnosis.
This luxury includes being able to make plans for the end of one’s life: choices about medical treatment and financial concerns, among others. The luxury of receiving the care and compassion of hospice personnel is one that many who die do not experience.
In years past, heart attacks and strokes frequently resulted in sudden death. In 2012, more of us are surviving such events. Many deaths today occur incrementally from diseases such as cancer, dementia, diabetes, chronic heart disease and others. When death is not instant and is anticipated, an individual and his or her family members have the opportunity to choose how death is approached and what happens beyond death.
Making funeral plans in advance may seem like a grim task, but the luxury of time (though limited) allows the individual to exercise preferences and save the family incredible stress at the time of death. Those who cannot afford to prepay for a funeral can consider alternatives, including cremation. A patient’s hospice team can offer input and guidance that can be useful in decision-making.
The luxury of knowing that the end is approaching allows a person to exchange parting messages with friends and family. A patient can write or dictate letters to be shared after death occurs. There can be a sense of closure for the patient and loved ones. This closure generally does not occur when death comes quickly.
The luxury of hospice helps assure that the patient is comfortable and that pain will be dealt with. Hospice care also addresses social, mental and spiritual needs of the patient, as well as the physical.
It may seem odd to refer to hospice as a “luxury,” when one is facing imminent death. But hospice is a special kind of care that has been proved time and time again to be invaluable to both patients and loved ones.
For information about hospice care and all that it entails, feel free to call Hope Hospice at 314-984-9800.