Hospice is about living.
A "terminal diagnosis" does not stop you from living. And hospice care is about living as fully and joyfully as possible for as long as possible.
Dame Cecily Saunders, the founder of the modern hospice movement once wrote, "You matter because you are. You matter to the last moment of your life, and we will do all we can, not only to help you die peacefully but also to help you live until you die."
Hospice is not a place. It is a way of caring. Rather than focusing on tubes and medications to keep you alive as long as possible, in a sterile environment and without consideration for quality of life, hospice focuses on the individual and his or her choices. Decisions are based on the wishes and desires of the individual and their families. Do you want to spend your last days in the comfort of your own home? Are there relationships that you would like to mend so you can die with the peace of mind knowing you did your best? Would you like help with practical matters such as establishing needed services, funeral plans, or other legal matters? Would caregivers like to be given respite? Is spirituality important to you?
These are just some of the questions that are asked by patients and their families and acted upon by hospice staff. Because you are encouraged to share your thoughts and visions of your final months and days hospice staff can help to make wishes come true. From the woman who wanted to throw herself a huge going away party, to the 92 year old woman who had one last wish – to parachute out of a plane. Helping these dreams come true is what hospice is all about.