Win tickets to see the smash hit musical Mamma Mia at the Roanoke Civic Center. Two winners will each receive four tickets!
Sunday, October 13, 2013
The commentary by Katy Butler, “Why few of us get to die peacefully at home” (Sept. 22), poignantly outlines the distressing disconnect between the home-based comfort care that most of us say we want at the end of life and the technologically rich but dignity-poor experience that 75 percent of us will have.
The reasons for this disconnect are complex and without easy answers. The economics of health care, as Butler pointed out, is one factor; another is that we just do not want to talk about death or dying.
To allay some of the anxiety people experience when deciding whether to start hospice, it is hopeful to know patients have a 15 percent chance of “graduating” from hospice because they get better under the excellent care of the hospice team. It is also helpful to explain hospice in the words of the patients and families we serve: “Hospice made my disease get smaller and life get bigger.” “I could always tell when your staff had visited my Mom that day — she looked good and seemed to feel better.” “You helped us make wonderful memories of Dad’s last weeks that we will cherish for the rest of our lives.” “We wished we had had hospice sooner” — a sad but frequent comment.
Fear is a disempowering place from which to approach most decisions, especially ones that happen at the end of life. We do have choices. Carilion Clinic and Good Samaritan Hospice are sponsoring a free public forum, “End of Life: A Community Conversation,” at 6 p.m. Oct. 24 in Jefferson Center Shaftman Hall to help people begin the challenging yet essential conversations around this sacred time of life. All are invited to attend.
Our options do not lie in whether or not we will die; our options lie in the quality of that sacred experience. In hospice, we commit to serving patients and families at the end of life because we believe that everyone deserves to die well.
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