Hospice May Be the Answer

Irene, a 72-year-old retired school secretary, can’t remember the last time she had a decent night of sleep. Her husband Ray is dying and managing his terminal illness is proving to be an immense physical, financial and emotional strain.

Irene must regularly lift and bathe Ray. In addition, she’s become something of a novice pharmacist, regularly tracking and dispensing medications. She’s also had to become a creative bookkeeper to manage the astronomical medical expenses. She’s exhausted and would treasure just one hour to herself.

Ray suffers too. He wakes up every day to excruciating physical pain. In addition, he has to deal with the emotional pain of watching Irene struggle. He feels guilty and helpless for being so sick. Ray and Irene worry endlessly, unable to truly cherish the end of their lives together.
Ray and Irene, like many seniors dealing with terminal illness and loss, feel lost and trapped. That is until, however, they discover a little known and not well understood resource called hospice. Hospice, a Medicare part A benefit, provides refuge for seniors dealing with the medical, social, spiritual and end of life quality issues.

For example, did you know that the Medicare part A hospice benefit covers 100% for?

Medications associated with a terminal illness
A personal physician
Durable medical equipment such as oxygen, hospital beds, specialty
mattresses, incontinent supplies
Registered nursing visits (available 24/7)
State-tested nursing assistant visits
Licensed social worker visits
Chaplain visits
Physical, speech and occupational therapists visits
A dietician
A pharmacist
Bereavement follow-up

In addition, many hospice programs offer added benefits. Harbor Light Hospice, for example, offers massage specialists and art and pet therapies.
“ I give choices about what to massage and I listen as a caring individual who is non-judgmental,” said Kenneth Oates, Harbor Light Hospice massage therapist.

Another little known fact is that sometimes patients “graduate” from hospice programs. You can only be admitted to a hospice program if you’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness. However, in some instances patients are removed from hospice programs because their specialized hospice care leads to a vastly improved health status.

Lastly, Hospice is not only for cancer patients. Eligible patients may be those diagnosed with any type of end-stage diseases or symptoms. These diseases include but are not limited to:

Cardiac diseases
Pulmonary diseases
Cardiovascular diseases
Renal disease
Neurological diseases
Liver disease
Multiple system failure/nutritional debility

Hospice is not for individuals seeking aggressive treatment to cure their illness.
Harbor Light Hospice neither hastens nor postpones death, but helps patients and families view death as a natural part of life. This is done through the loving support of a team of social workers, registered nurses, state-tested nurse assistants, chaplains and volunteers.

“ It is our purpose and great honor to be present with our hospice patients and their loved ones to listen, support, teach and care for all involved, said Angie Meyer, Harbor Light Hospice licensed social worker.

“ It was all terrific. There was outstanding hospice medical care. Volunteers came in and painted my mother’s nails and they read to her. The hospice staff cared for mother but they never forgot about our family and our grieving process. Right after mother died they arrived to provide comfort to our family,” said Philip Pelock, the son of a Harbor Light Hospice recipient. “I only wish we would have utilized hospice sooner.”

For further information on hospice call Harbor Light Hospice at (614) 891-6378 or toll free at 1-866-355-0553.

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