The word “hospice” has received a bad rap, and, by association, palliative care. Many people think these words mean “the end of the line.” But that’s simply not true.
Hospice isn’t where people go just to die. Many true stories of those being serviced by a hospice show that hospice care is really about managing symptoms and creating a stable environment for the individual.
To gain perspective about how hospice can work for individuals, check out Moment of Life Made Possible by Hospice web site (though perhaps first grab a box of tissues – the life-affirming moments come fast and furious). Two of the stories featured on that site are not about the old idea of being put in a room until the time comes. Once of them, featuring a veteran and his journey on the Honor Flight, shows how hospice can make it possible for people to have that one last adventure. Another features a great-grandmother who is able to be stabilized by hospice before moving back home with her caregiver, who is also her granddaughter.
As for palliative care, while it also has been associated with end-of-life care, the idea here is to support not only an individual with a serious illness, but also the family. A special needs mom who writes the blog The Cute Syndrome put it like this: “[Palliative care] is fundamentally focused on living–living happily and comfortably despite on-going serious health challenges.”
Check out this great video with a perfect analogy. And happy National Hospsice and Palliative Care Month!