Most of us who are busy living our lives don’t stop to think about the end of our lives or what that might entail. We may have heard about hospice but we tend to think that it applies to others – not ourselves.
Ideally, the time to learn about hospice is before there is ever a need for such services. Because life is so precious, we humans are willing to do whatever is necessary to survive when a life threatening illness strikes. The sad fact is that ultimately all of us will die. The good news is that this need not be a painful or lonely process. There are skilled professionals and volunteers dedicated to the comfort, joy and well-being of individuals at end of life.
When all treatment options have failed or when individuals choose not to pursue further treatment, there is much that hospice can do. Hospice is a very special way of caring, not only for the person with a life limiting illness but also for their family members. The hospice focus is on life and living in spite of serious illness. Hospice emphasizes comfort and choice. Hospice individualizes the care to meet the unique needs of each individual and their family members.
So the questions become: How will I know when it’s time to call hospice? What is the process for getting help for myself or a loved one?
If you are unsure about your eligibility for hospice services, call a hospice provider in your area. In the greater Bangor area there are five hospices from which to choose. These hospices are listed in the Yellow Pages of the phone book.
Call any of these hospices. They will answer your questions and have written information to send you if you so choose. With your permission they may contact your physician to confirm the necessity for hospice services. Hospice response to your desire for an informational visit in your home usually occurs within 24 hours of your request.
The hospice will then guide you in making decisions, make suggestions for comfort, offer choices, and honor your wishes and your rights. All of this may vary according with each individual patient and family unit and their needs.
Accepting hospice care does not mean that you have given up. The focus on life and living assures you that you have a dedicated team ready, willing and able to walk with you along this very special journey.