Thelma was at her doctor’s office with her adult daughter, Cheyanne. The doctor was going to give them the results of the latest tests of Thelma’s heart. When he walked in Cheyanne could tell from his face that it wasn’t good news, but she wasn’t expecting it to be as solemn as it turned out to be.
“Thelma, it looks like your heart disease has progressed faster than I had anticipated. The treatments we’ve tried aren’t working. I’d like to make a suggestion. I’d like you to consider hospice care.”
Thelma looked at Cheyanne and started to sob hysterically. “You can’t be serious,” said Cheyanne. “Isn’t there anything else you can do for her besides recommend hospice?” Then whispering she asked the doctor, “isn’t that just giving up on her?”
What Thelma and Cheyanne were about to find out was that hospice is often suggested when life-extending treatments are no longer useful. Typically, this means that the physician has determined the patient has six months or less to live. However, there have been cases where doctors are confident that a patient is at death’s door, only to release the patient from hospice once they have improved. All hospice really means is that no extraordinary medical intervention will be made. But the patient is never just left to die. Hospice includes an interdisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, dieticians, clergy, psychologists, volunteers and others who provide the patient and their family members with the physical, emotional and spiritual care they so need.
With November being Home Care and Hospice Month, we felt it was pertinent to talk about hospice and the dedicated, hard-working health care professionals, doctors, nurses, therapists, assistants, aides and volunteers who help comfort and happiness to individuals who need extra special loving care.
What Does Hospice Mean for You and Your Loved Ones?
Hospice is not an agreement written in stone. You can opt out of it whenever you like, and if you need to in the future, your doctor can prescribe it again.
You remain in charge. That means that you can consult your primary physician, if he or she is not part of the hospice team, and if you are capable can make your own medical decisions.
You will not be heavily sedated. Pain management in hospice means that medications will be administered to ease your discomfort without making you feel hazy or loopy. The idea is for you to be able to enjoy the time you have left with your family and friends.
You have access to a team of health care professionals who work together to give you the best possible care. For example, if you’ve had a stroke and want to be able to express yourself more clearly, you can ask for speech therapy.
Your family members can continue to access bereavement counseling offered by hospice for about a year following your death.
Because hospice is a concept and not a place, you can have a hospice team in your home, in your senior residential facility and even in a hospice center. This makes it much more appealing for many individuals who have explicitly told their family members that they do not want to die in a hospital.
At Luxe Hospice we understand what families go through when a loved one is in dire straits. That’s why we make sure our team members are not only highly trained professionals but have compassion and empathy toward our clients and their families.
Luxe offers hospice care in selected areas of Southern California including Bel Air, Brentwood, Malibu, Pacific Palisades and Santa Monica.