It’s never easy hearing that a loved one has a limit on their life’s expectancy. Cancer, cirrhosis, complications from diabetes and AIDS can all cut lives short. Hospice care can provide comfort for the patient and family in the familiar surroundings of the home rather that the sterile environment of an institution.
There are many miracles of modern medicine, there have been great advancements in both the areas of prevention and treatment of diseases, but for those diseases that still elude the modern miracles there is the Samaritan Hospice. Hospice care puts the patient and the family in control of the course and type of treatment to be administered.
The patient is allowed to live their remaining days in the comfort of the familiar surroundings of their own home where they can focus on important memories and enjoy the company of their loved ones without being bound by the laws of visiting hours or scheduled tests.
The focus of the Samaritan hospice is not to cure the progressive disease, but to provide treatment that will allow the patient to remain as comfortable and alert as possible to spend what time they have left to focus on what’s important and to be in the company of their family, friends and loved ones.
My first experience with hospice was about twelve years ago, shortly after my grandfather was diagnosed with lung cancer. He was in his eighties, he was a life long smoker and within a matter of months after being diagnosed, his body was ravaged from the disease.
There was nothing that was going to make him better, no miracle treatment that could help turn him back into the man I grew up knowing. I saw what my mother and aunt were going through, being forced to make decisions regarding the life of their father;
I saw how precious time was lost fighting a disease that couldn’t be beaten, given what stage it had progressed to. The option of hospice care came up and I wish we would have known of the option sooner all things considered. He wasn’t very lucid by the time we got everything set up at home, but I thank them for the fact that he seemed more comfortable, and more at ease in his final days.
Last year came time for another incredibly difficult decision; my father had been in and out of the hospital suffering from complications brought on by diabetes and stroke. He had suffered extensive damage to the kidneys and was coming down with congestive heart failure on what seemed a regular basis.
He knew as well as the doctors did, as well as we did that he wasn’t going to get better and after having seen the care the Samaritan Hospice had provided for his father-in-law, he helped us make the decision to opt for hospice care when the time were to come.
By enlisting the registered nurses, the home health aides and the family support volunteers of hospice, my father was able to spend some quality time with my daughter and his other grandchildren in a place were everyone was comfortable. We got to share old memories and create some new ones, memories of spending time with him in a friendly environment rather than seeing him hooked up to machines.