I am writing to express my deep admiration for the team of Grace Hospice in Boardman during Hospice Awareness Month. I have always believed in the hospice philosophy of keeping patients comfortable. But what I did not appreciate prior to working with these amazing individuals was the message of hope hospice imparts to patients and their families.
Hospice care has long been thought of as an option for cancer patients in their “last days.” This misconception could not be farther from the truth. Patients actually benefit most from hospice when they are enrolled in a program as early in the life-limiting diagnosis period as possible, often up to six months. I’ve seen many patients with various diagnoses whose lives were extended and whose quality of life was enhanced by hospice. Some patients are even discharged from hospice care due to improvement in their condition.
Of course, hospice strives to ensure that their patients and families are supported and comfortable at the end of their life. Their often overlooked mission, however, is to provide hope and to improve the quality of the life lived. When both of these are done well, the experience leaves an imprint on the patients and the caregivers who are blessed to serve them.
Lisa Harrison, RN