November recognizes a special kind of care that focuses on the quality of life for people experiencing an advanced, life-limiting illness and the journey the person’s family or caregivers share with them. This type of care is referred to as Hospice care. I have worked with many Hospice providers throughout my career, but this past year, it became more personal. I, too, have lived the hospice journey through my mother’s cancer diagnosis and her recent passing. There are so many misconceptions about hospice that I am hoping to shed some awareness of. The first is that if you go on hospice, it means the end of your life is very near. The second is that if you go on hospice, you must stay on it forever. In my recent experience, hospice care provided compassionate care for my mother at the end of her battle with cancer. They assisted her nursing home caregiving team to make her as comfortable as possible. My mom was always afraid of the term hospice and, although originally rejected the idea of hospice, became grateful for their support. During her journey, she went on and off hospice as her needs changed. In the end, hospice was able to provide comfort measures to her and our family.
Many people are unaware that hospice also provides support to the family through Chaplaincy programs or grief support. These benefits have been incredibly helpful for me and my family in this journey, too. It is a whole-person approach to end-of-life care, for which I will forever be grateful. Please join me in honoring the providers of hospice services for their valuable contributions to the healthcare community. For more information related to hospice providers and care in our community, please contact Mark King, LSW at JMHS. There is peace in knowing that my mom had the best support and care during her last moments. Hugs to all the people who dedicate their lives to providing Hospice care!
Kris Jacobson, LNHA, LALD, MBA