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CHOICES - page 31
        An occupational therapist may suggest changes in your home that make independence easier, such as grab bars in the shower or tools to help you put on shoes and socks. The therapist may notice obstacles, such as throw rugs and tripping hazards. These changes may prevent a fall and broken bones that could severely reduce your quality of life.
        Because hospice deals constantly with many of the symptoms and problems you are experiencing, the staff has come up with creative solutions and will brainstorm new ones with you. Whether you use the suggestions is up to you. Hospice also benefits caregivers and family members. Nurses and social workers will help them understand your medications and the kind of help you really need.
        Some doctors are slow to refer patients to hospice, perhaps because doing so is an admission that a cure
is not forthcoming or because they feel that the hope of a long life or a cure is psychologically valuable to patients.
        Hope is important; so is having all the tools you need to maintain your quality of life.
        Ask for a referral or call hospice yourself. Then you will have the information you need to decide if and when you want the extra help.
        The most immediate benefit of hospice is help with the lifestyle changes discussed in the previous sections: wheelchairs; medication for nausea; tools to help when muscle tone and range-of-motion lessen; pain control techniques, from medication deliver y systems to visualization; and creative solutions to individual problems.
        With the experience and support of hospice staff, the last months of life can be active, enriching and enjoyable.
        It is your life, to the last moment. Live it the way you want to.

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