Today I spent more time at the hospital advocating. A dear soul, who happens to be a feisty 92-year-old woman, and a client of mine, is ready to be discharged. I heard the plan was to send her to rehab. Interesting I thought, she has advanced lung disease and when she exerts any amount of effort, her oxygen levels drop rapidly. How on earth was she going to be successful in rehab? My concern was that she would go to rehab, not be able to meet the goals required for Medicare to pay for the stay, and then be deemed too weak to return to her condo and be considered for nursing home placement.
There is one thing I know about this feisty 92-year-old dear soul is that she wants to be at home until her last breath. She is of sound mind, and her daughters are doing their best to honor her wishes. I asked them for permission to ask a few questions.
I started with her nurse and asked her if she believed rehab would be successful. She highly doubted it as her numbers drop just going to the bathroom. I asked the nurse if she would mention this to the Doc and asked her to help me ensure we were talking about what was real and setting her up for the best discharge possible. She agreed and said hospitals aren’t always very good at having those honest, real conversations. I was sad about that reality, and I was convicted to continue advocating for those who God brings into my world.
I mentioned Hospice as an option for my client and her daughters, and in conversation, they learned why Hospice would serve them well. It was not about their Mom having cancer, or that death was coming in the next few days or even weeks. It did mean she would be able to discharge home with the support of Hospice and take each day as it comes.
What Hospice does mean is this:
Hospice is a specialized type of care for those facing a life-limiting illness, their families and their caregivers.
- Hospice care addresses the patient’s physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs.
- Hospice care also helps the patient’s family caregivers.
- Hospice care takes place in the patient’s home or in a home-like setting.
- Hospice care concentrates on managing a patient’s pain and other symptoms so that the patient may live as comfortable as possible and make the most of the time that remains.
- Hospice care believes the quality of life to be as important as length of life
Tonight I am grateful for this families willingness to learn and speak up about where they had come to be misinformed and believe wrong things about Hospice.
I am thankful for the opportunity for this feisty 92-year-old dear soul to go home with Hospice support.
I admire her courage to recognize her life-limiting illness and to explore Hospice, even when she was sure it was meant only for people who will die in the coming days.
I wonder what you know and/or believe about Hospice. I invite you to do some research or talk to someone who knows and learn about what is true before your faced with a need to decide if Hospice is right for you or someone you love. If you have questions, please email me at Trish@vangels.com.
I know that my years working as a Hospice social worker taught me about living and dying and the importance of quality of life in those both.