The Blessing of Hospice

Recently, I have had the pleasure to interact with a hospice team.  I had two clients who were dying.  I have always appreciated the services since my days working in HIV/AIDS.  Both my clients’ families needed a tender touch to assist with the end of their loved lives.

Many people think hospice is just for cancer patients.  This is not the case.  Hospice is for anyone who is dying and can be received in any setting from home to a nursing care facility.

Coming to terms with a loved one’s dying, is never easy.  Engaging hospice is the first step in acknowledging the dying process has begun.  It can be heart wrenching.  The beauty of hospice is, they completely understand the difficulty of the decision and are there to assist you through the journey.

Hospice is designed to help the whole family.  The medical team monitors the physical changes and does everything to keep the person comfortable.  There is also support for family members from support groups, to individual counseling to spiritual guidance.  They are also available 7/24.

I was with my client whose mother had a terminal diagnosis.  The mother was having a very difficult time accepting what was happening to her.  The daughter and I were sitting at her bed, each holding a hand, gently speaking with her.  A hospice volunteer walked into the room to visit the mother.  They had never met.

The volunteer radiated compassion and love.  The daughter and I stopped talking.  The volunteer took a moment to look at the mother’s pictures and said, “I will sit with you, now if you like.” And she smiled.  The room lit up.  The mother stopped crying, looked at the volunteer and at first said no.  But the volunteer just sat down and the mother began to relax.

The daughter and I looked at each other, slowly got up, said goodbye and left the room.  We were amazed and felt like we had witnessed a miracle of human kindness.   The mother was able to relax further and sleep.  We asked the hospice nurse to make sure the volunteer came regularly.

The daughter felt so much better for her mother.  This is why I appreciate hospice.  There is a gentle and loving respect for the dying process.  If you are thinking of getting hospice, talk to an agency or ask friends if they have worked with anyone.  Hospice can be engaged at anytime during the end of life process.