My father was admitted into Sutter Hospice today. All at once, I was sad and relieved. As my brother, Dean, said:
Glad to hear this. Don’t exactly feel like celebrating but definitely relieved to know we will be able to manage his symptoms better.
Exactly. I wish this wasn’t something we wanted or needed for Dad, but I know hospice will provide him with the best possible care.
Several people have asked, “What does hospice give you that you couldn’t get without it?”
Frequent nursing visits in the home so that you don’t have to drag your loved one to the doctor when symptoms develop. Medications (more types, and stronger) that work better for symptom control when you can’t fix the underlying problem with surgery or procedure and physicians aren’t worried about long-term consequences. Equipment that helps to prevent more pain and problems, rather than address them once they’ve developed. 24/7 access to telephone advice from a nurse who is really knowledgeable about serious illnesses. Some volunteer support for respite. Professionals who visit with the person who is ill and his/her primary caregiver(s) to provide moral and spiritual support. In short, a whole gang of people who actually talk to each other so that you don’t have to chase down the support you need.
I’m not ready to think about “the end,” but I know it’s not in the distant, unimaginable future. I know hospice is a comprehensive form of care that will help to make my Dad’s present more worth living.