Redefining Hope at End of Life

| By Jodi Horton

The definition of hope on m-w.com is “to want something to happen or be true and think that it could happen or be true” or “To cherish a desire with anticipation.”

Hope is a funny thing when you attach it to hospice care. People will probably tell you you’re giving up hope by signing on to hospice care. But you’re not giving up hope. You’re changing your hopes, and you’re allowed to do that.

At different points in our lives, we will hope for different things. As a child, you hoped for the new and popular toy. We grow older and we hope for college acceptances, love, job offers. We have hopes for children, grandchildren.

When you first got sick, you (and everyone else) hoped for a cure. But then there’s come a time when you start to wonder if the treatments are working. I’m not improving. I’m getting worse. That’s when your hopes might change again. Changing one’s hopes is just part of the natural course of things.

What does a person on hospice hope for? They’re hoping to enjoy the last months of their life. They’re hoping to avoid the hospital emergency room. A person on hospice is hoping to have their symptoms managed so he or she can focus on spending time with loved ones. He or she is hoping for excellent care from professionals who teach them what to expect during the dying process.

How can a hospice help make your hopes happen? We’ll care for you in your home. Our team of experienced professionals, knowledgeable about end-of-life care, will come to you. The nurse will assess your condition and help manage your symptoms, to try and make sure you’re as comfortable as possible. Medications will be delivered to you, along with any medical equipment necessary to make you comfortable. The home health aide will offer assistance with bathing and grooming, treating you with dignity and compassion. The social worker will help you and your family prepare, emotionally and practically. The chaplain will listen and ease any spiritual distress you might experience. These hospice experts will explain the process to you, helping you and your family to know what to expect as your move through this journey.

The end-of-life journey isn’t an easy one, but it doesn’t have to be a hopeless one.

If you or someone you love is facing the last six months of life in the Pima County area, contact Casa de la Luz Hospice to learn how hospice care can help. We can be reached 24 hours a day via 520.544.9890.

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