What is Hospice?

Hospice History

In medieval times, dying persons were seen as the wise ones, voyagers, valuable to the community in many ways. They provided an opportunity to those around them for service and spiritual growth. However, in today's death-denying society we view death as an equation of pain and suffering. It is a common practice in society today to avoid any knowledge of death, to treat death as if it were something unnatural, to be feared, shameful, or wrong.

For most of our history, dying was a brief process that usually took place in the company of one's family, usually in the home. Secondary infections brought a quick and often peaceful end to life. In the pre-antibiotic area, pneumonia was known as the "old man's friend." With modern medicine, however, pneumonia no longer offers a quick and peaceful finish. Infections like pneumonia can be treated repetitiously and the cycle can run it's coarse over and over again.

"Death is not the ultimate tragedy of life. The ultimate tragedy is depersonalization-dying in an alien and sterile area, separated from the spiritual nourishment that comes from being able to reach out to a loving hand, separated from the desire to experience the thing that makes life worth living, separated from hope."
Norman Cousins, Anatomy of an Illness

What Hospice Offers

Hospice offers a positive perspective and response to dying; it is technology and traditional medicine wrapped up in one of the most purest forms of humanity.

Comfort of the terminally ill patient is of the utmost importance and one of the primary focuses for hospice. People prefer to die at home, or home like setting, in the comfort of familiar surroundings, free of pain and suffering. When the patient is in distress or is viewed by their loved ones to be suffering, the whole family unit suffers as well.

Support for the Family

One of the most basic beliefs in hospice is that the care for the terminally ill is of the utmost importance; but in addition to that, the family and loved ones are an extension of that patient requiring just as much respect, honesty, dignity, and compassion. Family problems cannot be overlooked. If they remain unresolved, the issues will spill over and affect the acceptance and peace of the dying patient. It has been repeatedly documented that death in acute-care settings or in distressed situations has caused many families to fall apart. Hospice helps to support the patient and their loved ones, and allows them to find a common bond making death a coming together. As the patient journeys through the end of life process and approaches death, there is often growth filled moments, gifts to remember and spiritual events that families can experience and share.

Caring for the patient at home or in a home like setting often affords the survivors in the family a much easier passage through the process of bereavement. It can be beneficial for relatives and children to witness the dying process at home and not be frightened of it. The fear of your own morality can be greatly reduced if you have witnessed the peaceful death of someone you know and love. With hospice, families have continued access to the emotional support needed to process the very natural steps of bereavement that no one can avoid.

Hospice Philosophy

Hospice with Heart believes that a knowledgeable hospice team that embraces all aspects of the hospice philosophy can assist the patient and family in affirming one's life throughout the end of life process. Our goal is to provide support and care for persons in the last stages of an incurable disease process, allowing the terminally ill and their families the opportunity to live whatever time is left emphasizing QUALITY of living rather then the length of life.

Hospice with Heart recognizes that dying is an inevitable process. We strive to provide the dying patient respect, honesty, dignity, and compassion. We will neither hasten nor postpone death. Hospice with Heart exists with the hope and belief that through appropriate quality care, being surrounded by a caring community who is sensitive to the needs of the terminally ill and their loved ones, the dying patient will be able to reach the levels of emotional, mental, and spiritual preparation prior to death that meets their needs and allows them peace.

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