Hospice and hospice care are almost never on the top of anyone's mind. By the time you need to think about it, life is already falling apart and things are emotional. Hospice care doesn't mean someone is definitely going to die. But it usually means things are a little crazy in that person's life and for their family. November is National Hospice Awareness month. In an effort to bring awareness to hospice care, I invite you to read through the following article and reflect on any experiences you've had with hospice.
Defining hospice care and palliative care
Hospice and palliative care are similar in many ways. The main difference is that in Hospice Care, attempts to cure someone or make them better have stopped. When a person enters hospice care it doesn't mean they will die. Many people actually recover enough to enter into palliative care or go on to live longer. It's a type of care that allows for a quality of life-centered focus and specialized services for families.
Palliative care, on the other hand, continues to focus on helping a person get better while employing a different style of care from a traditional hospital setting. Palliative care and hospice care both include support for families and loved ones of the person who is in care. If you'd like to learn more about hospice and palliative care you can start here.
Grief Gone Wild with Hospice of the Valley
This video is a story about my experience as a teenager on a trip called Grief Gone Wild hosted by Hospice of the Valley. The video also talks about National Grief Awareness Day that will happen someday on August 30th. It is part of the Grief series which you can find farther down the page.
The video is a couple of years old but is still relevant. In it, I shared about how Grief Gone Wild impacted me, what my journey has been like as a teenager experiencing grief, and then as an adult experiencing grief. If you have a few moments, I highly suggest you watch or listen while you work on something else to get a better understanding of just one way Hospice Care can support families.
Grief Gone Wild was an incredible experience that allowed my brother and I to have time together in the community with other teenagers who are also experiencing loss and grief. We had actually been on the river before as a family with our father and we are now rafting it after his death. It was a cathartic experience camping in the same places we had been with him before. The video goes more in-depth into the experience.
Why Hospice care matters now
Hospice Care has always mattered. In the world we live in now where we are more connected than ever and yet still disconnected from the people who need us most, Hospice Care makes a difference. It's an important part of end-of-life care and helping families process and work through end-of-life journeys. As we continue to advance technology and interconnectedness, Hospice Care holds space for families to stay connected in impossible moments.
Hospice care resources
As I mentioned in the video above, there are many different types of Hospice Care services, companies, and options. Your state or municipality may have its own hospice service. I encourage you to do a Google search and find hospice options near you. There are many hospice care providers that can work virtually with you as needed. You can connect with anyone around the world. My recommendation is to determine what you need as a family and what your loved one needs. Then look for someone who can fill that need.
Articles on Death & Dying
Here are a few articles you can find on the Legacy Recorder website on death and dying. Each article has a little bit of a different bent and lens surrounding grief. I have found that people experience grief in a multitude of ways. There isn't a right way to grieve. As you move through these articles remember that you don't have to listen or follow all of my suggestions. They are merely a starting place and you are allowed to deal with death however you need to.
- National Grief Awareness Day
- Documenting your Grief Awareness story
- The social network for loss – GoodGrief App
- How to Honor Death and Grief
Think about a time where you were part of a hospice care situation. This could be someone you were caring for or related to directly or someone you knew who had a family member in hospice. Take some time to reflect on that time and what was good/bad and what might have helped. When researching hospice care in the future, keep these things in mind to help inform your decisions.
Storytelling and Hospice Care
It’s never too late to help someone tell their story. Yes, even in hospice it can be done. As a family, I would recommend that you sit down, have a discussion and, if you can, include the storyteller or the person that you want to write about and find out what is most important to them. Find out the Legacy they want to leave and, find out what they want people to remember about them. This story planner can help you document and capture their story.
Remember it might not be what you or the family think it should be. In a hospice situation, I would strive to honor that person's wishes on what they want to talk about to make the most of the time you do have available. You can read more about what to do here.