needs to be within 6 months of passing away, this is not a hard and fast rule. My mother was on and off hospice for about 3 years.
Once a person has been approved for hospice, they qualify for Medicare to cover 100% of the costs involved. It also brings in all the needed equipment to support the person at home such as a hospital bed, wheelchair, potty chair, etc. It brings in a visiting nurse that constantly evaluates the needs and brings in any other resources that may be needed as time goes on.
They have all the medications covered as well. A doctor is responsible for overseeing the care and makes periodic home visits to keep abreast of the patient’s progress. There is also a 24/7 phone service to address any situations that may come up at any time.
With that information in hand, we contacted a local hospice service and began the process of requesting the evaluation and setting up the process of bringing him home. It took several days to complete the process, but just yesterday, we brought him home.
I cannot tell you the difference I saw on his face as he entered his home and his little dog jumped up on his lap. Where there had been signs of severe depression, his face now radiated with hope and joy – he was home.
I am aware that not every family has the ability or resources to consider this option in taking care of a loved one. The fact that I am a Registered Nurse gives us a great advantage.
At the same time, I also know that my level of training is not necessary to provide for the needs of a loved one who comes home. The hospice service provides the expertise that is needed.
I just wanted to tell this story to let people know that there may be an option that is not always presented. Maybe this is not even considered as a possibility because the system seems to push placing people into their facilities and that’s the end of the story. It seems that our medical system wants us to be so dependent on it that we don’t consider other options.
With dad at home, we will be able to tend to wound care more frequently. We will be able to try more naturopathic techniques and salves that the facilities could not or would not do because they were not covered by doctor’s orders. We can do more frequent physical therapy and massage as well. We can also be more attentive and not make him wait an hour or more to get him back to bed or even get a glass of water. We can even make sure he gets a regular shower and shave, which sadly had been lacking during his time at the facility.
At the end of the day, I believe that we need to find ways to be less dependent on the current medical system. While there are things they can do very well, there are other things that they do poorly. If we really want to be Masters of our own Health, we need to find better ways to remain in charge of the level of care we receive and provide for our loved ones.
I don’t know how many months or years my father-in-law has to live, but I do know whatever time he has left will be a joy for him. He is home, his family and dog are around him, and he knows he is loved.