My Hospice Misconceptions: What It Is and Isn’t
By Sean O’Brien, Silverado Content Marketing Manager
A little more than two years ago I joined the Silverado marketing team to help with some writing and other website duties. At the time my sister and I shared responsibilities providing care for my father, who was quickly losing his independence due to Lewy body dementia. This made writing about memory care and dementia natural. Hospice, however, was a different story.
My only prior experience with hospice was when my grandfather had been on it many years ago. My understanding was that hospice is a place where you go to die. I quickly realized that many of my notions about hospice were wrong and I learned the following:
- Hospice is not actually a place, but a type of care. Though there are some facilities that specifically host hospice patients, Silverado and most other hospices provide service wherever the patient resides.
- Hospice is about comfort and dignity. It doesn’t hasten death, nor seek to extend life unnaturally. Ensuring that the rest of the patient’s life is as comfortable as possible is the objective.
- Hospice is widely available. It’s offered as a Medicare benefit and many private providers cover it.
My crash course in hospice was a helpful part of my job duties, but it couldn’t have been more of a blessing earlier this year when my father’s decline led his doctor to suggest hospice.
Having learned so much, I had no reservations about starting care. My sister, however, was not as instantly sold on the idea. It was at this point that I realized she, like so many people (and myself two years prior), had never really had hospice adequately explained to them.
Having the ability to thoroughly explain hospice to my sister made a difficult conversation much easier. When she said “I just feel like we’re giving up on him,” I sent her a video with a Silverado Medical Director explaining precisely why we weren’t giving up. It was exactly what was needed. While our father was only on hospice for a short time, we agree 100% that it was the right choice.
Being in the position to make an informed decision regarding my father’s hospice care made me thankful to a degree I can’t express. It also made me empathize with everyone who is not able to consider hospice with the same insight. This has provided a renewed focus on the importance of helping everyone understand what a truly compassionate choice hospice can be.
Recently, we created a new Hospice Resources page at silveradocare.com/hospiceresources. This page is designed to provide families with the important information they need to understand hospice and make the best decisions for themselves and their loved ones. It will continue to grow with more features, and it’s my sincerest hope that it can help ease the stress, even just a little, for those who are near the end of a loved one’s journey.