Hospice Foundation Information Center Wonderful Resource

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by Carol Bursack http://blog.eldercarelink.com/2010/08/hospice-foundation-information-center-wonderful-resource/

Hospice helped both of my parents through the death process. For that, I will always be grateful. In “Hospice Care as Seen by a Grateful Daughter,” I relate my experience and express my gratitude to this amazing organization.

The Hospice Foundation of America (HFA) recently announced an impressive new centralized resource funded primarily by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This Hospice Information Center offers information which “enable organizations to enhance their training and outreach efforts, sharing information for both families and staff in a format that is accessible and understandable.”

The Hospice Information Center offers organizations and individuals the opportunity to listen to the voices of people who have experienced hospice care, as well as experts who work with hospice and in bereavement care. The site also offers ways to educate readers about the basics of hospice care, grief and caregiving. Online presentations are available in a convenient, user-friendly format. There are fact sheets available as well, and an “Ask HFA” link for readers to get information about hospice care, caregiving and grief. Print resources are also available in Spanish, and materials in Chinese and Vietnamese will be available within a few weeks.

Personal Experience with Hospice

Both of my parents were in a nursing home when their need for hospice care became apparent. This home was (is) excellent. The nurses and certified nursing assistants who cared for my parents (and other loved ones who had been at the home) were outstanding. Pain management was carefully coordinated with the doctor and nurse practitioner who had my parents as patients. I was closely involved with the team.

However, my parents’ each had each had special issues in that their physical pain could not be controlled by allowable nursing home methods. Once my parents were designated terminal, they qualified for hospice care. While hospice then took over my parents care, Mom and Dad remained in the same room they occupied before hospice became involved. They had the same devoted nursing home staff. The family was included in all decisions. I continued to visit daily.

The only difference was that my parents had pain relief and we all had support in getting through the death process. The wonderful hospice chaplain was available to my parents as well as the family, if we chose. Hospice nurses monitored my parents closely.

Both Mom and Dad perked up considerably after hospice took over their care, as pain wasn’t their main focus. We had wonderful times together. When their diseases began to get the best of them, hospice kept their pain under control. We, as family members, were able to be with them throughout the full death process. These attended deaths rank as some of the most beautiful, spiritual moments of my life.

Did I grieve? Of course. There was, and is, a sense of loss. However, my parents had suffered so much during their last years that I also felt relief. I explain this process in depth in my article titled, Grief and Relief Mix of Emotions after a Death Can Foster Guilt.”

Hospice care was a gift to my parents and their surviving family that we never can repay. I do what I can by letting people know about my family’s wonderful hospice experiences.