The benefit of hospice has gained more understanding among the public and medical communities in recent years, but one aspect of hospice goes unnoticed. Someone I know and love is “graduating” from hospice services.
My 96 year old Mom had left the hospital in September, still weak as a result of pneumonia and other complications, and unable to feed herself. Returning to her room at Richfield Retirement, it was obvious that she was at a turning point in her health. After losing over 10% of her weight recently, her weakness resulted in the inability to walk or even stand. She continued to decline and that’s when hospice was called by the family to help.
An RN from Medi-Hospice made an immediate visit to determine whether Mom was appropriate for hospice services. After the admission, she coordinated with the medical staff at the facility and made a few changes to her medications. She also ordered a special mattress and other equipment, all paid for by hospice. A hospice Social Worker arrived to assist the patient and family in addressing topics like Living Wills, Advanced Directives and any financial needs. Medi’s Chaplain and volunteer were soon paying visits, offering mom spiritual support and companionship. As part of a team effort, hospice and facility staff kept watchful vigil over my Mom, providing much needed relief to our family.
With all the extra care Mom was receiving, her appetite returned and soon she was not only feeding herself, but wondering when lunch was coming! We knew mom was returning to her old self when she began to keep the facility and hospice staff laughing. Mom was joined by family, hospice staff and Beth Herndon, Social Worker-Richfield Retirement, at a picnic (at which she ended by eating two slices of pumpkin pie).
Hospice is not designed to care for those expected to recover, but statistics show that as many as 15% of hospice patients improve under their care. My decision to utilize hospice care, and the resulting coordination between Richfield Retirement and Medi Hospice professionals, gave Mom the best Christmas gift, a graduation from hospice services.
Submitted by Karita Knisely