In this third and final part of my series on hospice, I want to share with you the realities of what this type of specialized medical care can provide to people at the end of their lives.
I’ve been fortunate to have a variety of hospice companies come to Country Home Assisted Living in Parker, Colorado, to provide the additional support an assisted living facility needs for residents as they near their end.
Whether it’s a nurse, doctor, aide, social worker or clergy member, hospice team members walk in the door at Country Home with a large degree of concern, but also with comforting and assuring smiles on their faces.
Because they are so well trained to identify and deal with end-of-life issues, it is truly a wonderful service that they provide. And it’s a service that doesn’t cost anything. It is covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most insurance plans.
The hospice teams focus on comfort, pain relief and symptom management. They do not try to cure the disease or terminal illness. Their main focus is to make sure the Country Home resident is comfortable and adequately medicated to remain free of pain.
They are available 24/7 for any need that arises. They also will order special equipment that might be needed as a resident’s abilities continue to dwindle, such as wheelchairs or oxygen concentrators.
They also provide emotional and spiritual support for all of our residents, their families and even Country Home caregivers as they watch someone they have lived with for months or years end their life journey. Their goal is to ease anxiety and fears so that everyone can be as at peace with death as possible.
For residents of an assisted living facility, this can be a trying time. They know they’re old and know it is going to happen to them too. With hospice professionals by our side, we do our best to keep them updated about each individual’s situation. We let them say their goodbyes.
And we certainly give them options as to whether they want to see their friend before they pass or would prefer to remember them as they were months earlier. The social workers with hospice help us with all of that.
Not only do they provide this service for the months leading up to a death, but they also follow-up afterwards. They are in contact with us months after a death to see if any other resident would like to talk to someone – whether a social worker or clergy member.
They make a very difficult situation much more tolerable. I simply can’t thank them enough for helping us through these trying times. And I’m always grateful that hospice allows our residents to pass away peacefully at their home at Country Home Assisted Living instead of a cold, friendless hospital room.