To many, hospice sounds like the place you go when you can no longer function, when you are bed- ridden and within days of death.
Hospice is a service designed to maintain the highest possible quality of life for you, keep you in your home and ease the burdens carried by both you and your caregiver.
Calling hospice is not a sign of giving up; it is a sign that you want to make informed decisions about your care. It is an acknowledgment that help is needed to deal with the effects of your disease on your lifestyle and your family.
Many people contact hospice while they still are able to work, travel and enjoy other activities. The hospice staff can offer advice and equipment to maintain your quality of life, as well as offer spiritual and emotional support.
Hospice provides nurses, social workers, physical therapists, health aides, chaplains and time off for
care-givers. They help with many problems, from making a will to getting a wheelchair, from easing the side effects of medicine to getting medicine delivered to your home, from administer- ing medicine to giving you a foot massage.
Many communities have hospice programs that cooperate with each other. When you travel, hospice may be able to arrange a wheelchair or emergency contacts at your destination.
Hospice staff and volunteers relieve you and your family of the little things that become tiring and time-wasting tasks, such as driving to the pharmacy or getting approval for medical equipment. The hospice staff can answer questions about the side effects of medicine, suggest solutions and help you make decisions about legal and medical issues before problems arise.