COLUMN: ‘There’s no place like home’

Published 7:30 am Saturday, April 13, 2024

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In hospice, we never meet patients and families when they are having the best days of their lives. Most of the time, they are exhausted, worn, and weary from the endless tests, treatments, doctor visits, hospital stays, medications, and side effects. They have diligently been seeking a cure for their illness or relief from the pain and symptoms of the illness. Often, they need rest and symptom management so that they will be able to focus on what is most important to them, like friends, family, and loving relationships.

Vickie Wacaster, Patient and Hospice Advocate with Aveanna Hospice (formerly Comfort Care Hospice)

The need moments to enjoy those relationships instead of constant worry of what is physically going on with them. Many find that hospice provides such an opportunity. Hospice is a specialized healthcare service that comes to you in the comfort of your home. In other words, you do not have to get up, get dressed, take steps to the vehicle, sometimes sitting for hours to see a doctor, only to fall into bed when you return home, exhausted and in pain. Hospice will come to you. The nurse, the hospice aide, the social worker, and the chaplain. All will visit you and your loved ones in your home, surrounded by your things and your memories.

As I think about home, I’m often reminded of the famous lines Judy Garland, playing Dorothy, said in the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz,” “There is no place like home.” Dorothy wanted to return to the comforts of her home and her beloved Auntie Em and Uncle Henry. For those with an advanced terminal disease, they often find themselves in a hospital as much as home. A hospital where they are awakened before sunrise for lab work, fall back asleep, only to be awakened by the nurse with medications with bright overhead lights and noisy hallways. Days in a hospital are long and often lonely, filled with waiting for medication for pain you may have asked for an hour ago. So many patients wish only for the comfort of their home. Hospice can help get you or your loved one home.

Please get in touch with me if you have questions about the hospice’s criteria and care.

“Ultimately, God will call us by name, heaven’s gates will open, and angels will sing.” vcw 2019

— Vickie C. Wacaster is a Patient and Hospice Advocate for Aveanna Hospice.