As I begin to compose my thoughts on a bleak and dreary Sunday, I can’t help but think about the bright moment that launched my day.
When I was leaving church earlier this morning, I was approached by a couple who had recently been cared for by Carroll Hospice. As they shared how very supported they felt by our team, I thought “This was hospice at its best”—caring for the patient and the family, providing guidance to facilitate intellectual understanding and emotional acceptance, appreciating their unique story and, of course, helping to create positive memories.
I am often reminded that the charge of hospice to walk alongside families through their experience of care is not widely understood. End-of-life care is more than pills, pumps and tubes. It is the privilege of offering physical, emotional and spiritual comfort, all in equal measure. This demands the talents of highly skilled professionals and committed volunteers.
I realize that another aspect of our care that is subject to myth is that patients must die within 6 months to be eligible for hospice. Determining a prognosis is, at best, an imperfect science. Care can be provided well beyond the 6-month mark if the patient’s clinical diagnosis continues to progress. A patient’s prognosis is re-evaluated on an ongoing basis so that we can continue to bring support and services to those entitled to our care.
Please don’t be shy about reaching out if you need help with a loved one who is seriously ill. We are there for them and for you. If hospice is not the right service, we are committed to helping you find the care that is a better fit for your unique needs.
Regina Bodnar, R.N., is the executive director of Carroll Hospice. For more information about Carroll Hospice’s care, please call 410-871-8000 or visit our website.