Thank You, Hospice!

hands of old and youngIn my last post I mentioned a conversation the medical director of my mom’s assisted living residence had with me. She suggested we enter mom into the hospice program. With some trepidation I agreed and met with the hospice nurse who very gently described to me the program that would follow.

She informed me that a hospice aide would visit with my mom several days a week to help her in any way needed. She, as the assigned hospice nurse, would check in with mom weekly and give me an update. In addition Medicare would provide her with a much more comfortable wheelchair and mattress for her hospital bed.

I stopped in to see my mother one day when the hospice aide was with her. The aide had gently combed her hair, put cream on her dry skin and dressed her in a lovely dress with matching scarf and earrings. She looked beautiful. The aide commented on what a lovely woman she was.

After a number of visits in the following three weeks,I could see that my mother was failing. She had a hard time speaking a full sentence, was asleep most of the day and was becoming increasing unresponsive.

On Sunday morning, November 30th I received a call from the residence that mom was totally unresponsive and was taking rapid short breaths. I called the hospice nurse, picked up my daughter, who was visiting with us, ( my wife was away at a conference) and rushed to the residence.

The hospice nurse on call arrived before we did. He had given mom medication to ease her pain and make her more comfortable. He assured me that he would be available all day to help in any way needed. It was clear to me that the end was near.

My daughter and I spent my mom’s last hours with her. She passed away in comfort, in her own bed, holding my hand. I could not have asked for better circumstances for my mother to leave this life.

A few days later, I though about what would have happened if mom was not in hospice. She would have been transported to the emergency room in an ambulance. A number of nurses and doctors would probably go into action trying to keep her alive. She would die in strange circumstances amidst all the noise and activity of the emergency room, with my daughter and I witnessing her demise from the background.

Thank you, Broad Reach Hospice for making the end of my mother’s life, gentle, loving and peaceful.

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