Every patient has the right to choose aggressive treatment to cure cancer. Every patient has the right to choose palliative care treatments like radiation to relieve pain or other symptoms caused by cancer. They have the right to choose naturopathic medicine to heal the body or at least to relieve the symptoms. Every patient also has the right to know hospice affirms life! They have the right to know hospice will bring the clinic and hospital setting to them allowing them to save their energy so they can go where they want, when they want. They have the right to know people who start in hospice as soon as possible live an average of 29 days longer. They have the right to know hospice will help them make the most of their time.
Briefly, this story is about two hospice patients who are very much alike in that they are both female, both have the diagnosis of stage 4 cervical cancer, and are close in age. They have teenage daughters and have the desire to affect their family’s life even after their death.
Angie (name changed for privacy), age 42 with stage 4 cervical cancer chose to stop treatment and enter hospice approximately 6 months before she died. Hospice jumped on board quickly and even though initially there was not a lot of need for nursing intervention to control physical symptoms caused from the disease process of cancer, Angie had emotional and spiritual needs that required support and intervention from the Care Navigator (Social Worker) and Spiritual Care Provider. Angie’s goal before she died was to make memorable moments with her daughters and live the best life possible in the time she had left with them. With hospice involved Angie was able to take a trip to Hawaii with her teenage daughters. Angie had time to write letters to be given to her daughters at their milestone events like high school graduation, marriage, and when they had her grandchildren. A memory box was created and Angie picked several of her favorite things to be placed in the box including Angie’s favorite perfume so her daughters could have the memory of her scent. Videos were filmed. All of this was made possible because she entered hospice earlier rather than later, during a crisis. Assisted by Heart ‘n Home staff, Angie continues to affect her daughter’s lives.
Sandy (name changed for privacy), age 44, also had stage 4 cervical cancer, but she chose to delay admission to hospice even though in her records it was stated her oncology team had referred her to hospice several months before her admission date. Sandy was followed closely by phone calls for two months from Heart ‘n Home. The day of the last check in phone call, Sandy stated she was feeling poorly and wanted to be admitted to hospice that day. She said her friends had come to her home to help her plan her daughter’s high school graduation, but Sandy felt weak and was in too much pain – she couldn’t help them with the plans. Within an hour from the phone conversation, the Heart ‘n Home Nurse was admitting Sandy to hospice and during the admission process the Nurse was also informing and Sandy’s friends that she was actively dying. Sandy died early the next morning with hospice at her bedside.
Imagine the shock of this information. Sandy, her husband, and her friends were horrified, scared, sad, and angry. They did not have time to say goodbye, I love you, or I forgive you. There was not time to write legacy letters or thoughts of feelings and encouragement. Sandy did not have time left to be a part of her daughter’s high school graduation.
Hospice affirms life and helps patients, families, and friends make the most of their precious time. The earlier a person is referred to hospice, before they are in crisis, the more than can be done to meet their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.
If you or a loved one might benefit from hospice please contact us for a free in-home visit to answer all of your questions and help you find the help that you need.