If you have ever had to help someone through the process of hospice care, I am sorry that you had to go through that, but know that Hospice is an organization that not only helped your loved one but also supported you.

Look, losing someone stinks and those last few months, weeks, and days, can be tough for your loved one and for yourself. There is no way to sugarcoat it. I used to hear the word 'Hospice' and think "Eeek, not good!" But now I have learned (unfortunately) that the support of these teams is great.

So what is "Hospice?"

Hospice is a program that helps your loved one (and you) navigate a plan to help them pass with comfort and dignity, allowing your loved one to be in their home as long as they can.

Who is eligible for Hospice?

A person has to be cleared to be on hospice by their medical provider. One of the guidelines that is used is that the medical professional believes that your loved one has less than 6 months remaining in their life.

Is Hospice just another word for letting people die?

No, not at all. The experience that I have had with my mother and my friend, was that the patient was able to dictate how they wanted to be treated and how they wanted their final weeks to be. For my mom, that meant she was able to take out her feeding tubes (she asked) and she was able to eat when she wanted as opposed to the discomfort of being attached to something. She also got to decide if she wanted comfort care or something more invasive. Think of the treatment plan being more of an individual conversation with your loved one and what they want as opposed to what a doctor would want.

Is Hospice a facility or can it be at a home?

It can be either. Some patients can be at home and then moved to a facility. It is really about what is available in your area and how progressed one is in their end-of-life situation.

Can someone get out of hospice?

Yes, each person is re-evaluated at six months of care. While it is uncommon, there have been patients who have come out of hospice.

Something else you might not know is what Hospice does for family members after their loved one passes. The Hospice that my mom was at continued to provide counseling and grief services to my sisters and me for one year after my mom passed.

While each person's experiences are different, my goal was to share what happened with my mom, and open people's eyes to this help that they should not have to fear.

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