I would be interested to hear from people who have positive experiences with hospice.

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There seems to be gallons of ink on here about the horrors of hospice. I fully respect all those people who have shared these experiences. It's a valid discussion and I don't doubt for one second the validity of these experiences, nor am I interested in starting some sort of competition. However just as we need to hear the negative should also talk about the positive.

I've been volunteering with a non profit hospice for a few months. I don't claim to be any kind of expert as I am fairly new to the work and my experience is limited. My impression so far of this particular organization is very good. I've heard that the for profit companies doing hospice is Not so good but that is purely anecdotal evidence. So, let's talk......

53 Comments

My ex husband passed away from brain cancer. He had in home hospice care during the last few months. They took care of everything and were extremely kind and understanding. I have only good things to say about hospice
Raising my hand!! Mom and I had a great experience with Hospice. I have zero bad things to say. Actually, I miss them and my mother of course.
Mom died two weeks ago of kidney failure. She was fairly vital 'til the last two hospital admissions and was only on hospice a short time but our experience was completely positive.

They delivered everything within just a few hours of her hospital discharge, including a bed, an over-the-bed hospital table, all her oxygen needs, stacks of disposable underpads and incontinence supplies, refills of all her current medications plus a supply of the same meds and additional pain-killer in liquid form for 'later'. The hospice 'team', a chaplain, social worker, aides, and nurses all stopped in to introduce themselves, evaluate mom and address any needs or questions we had. Any additional meds were immediately called in to a local pharmacy and available within the hour for pick up.

I, too, miss the nurses and team members. The nurses would come by if they were in our area to 'check on her' even when mom wasn't on their list for the day. Two of them texted me regularly, asking how mom was, could they do anything for us. All of them either called or sent a heartfelt card after she passed. They were all truly kind and caring towards mom and the rest of the family.

All the workers we dealt with treated their jobs as a ministry, I felt. Nothing bad to say at all here.

I was pretty happy with hospice that we had for my dad in the last couple of months of his life. I didn't know that in larger communities, you can choose between a number of different groups.

My dad died on a Friday night and the social worker wanted to come comfort me, which I didn't want or need. My dad was 92 (so he lived a good long life) and I wanted to grieve in private. It took me a while to convince her that she didn't have to ruin her Friday night to come console me, that I was fine, just weepy. Since my family isn't religious, they didn't have to do any spiritual comfort with us. I think we were pretty low maintenance overall. I wouldn't hesitate to bring in hospice again for my mom if needed.
I cannot thank Hospice enough for the care they provided to my mother for over a year. Their assistance in providing medications and personal products allowed me to be a daughter again. The last two weeks were intense as her time to pass came near.

When Mother needed 24 hour care, the nurses appeared and the hospital bed arrived. The chaplains, social workers, and nurses were the best I have ever dealt with during the four years of intense caregiving.

My mother was in Assisted Living for four years, and with Hospice's assistance she did not have to move to a nursing home. There was no horrible moment. A week after Mother passed, her Chaplain called me to make sure that I was doing good.

Mother was almost 98 years old. The last week, she lost her eyesight and was already very hard of hearing. I was relieved that she had moved on to a better place. I miss her every day, because she was also my best friend.
My mom had hospice in a SNF the last week of her life. Fairly large non-profit hospice group, that has patients in the SNF ongoing, so established relationships with the staff. Their case manager met with us on just a few hours notice, coordinated the transition from "rehab" to "palliative" which was a huge improvement for moms comfort. She came quite a bit out of her way a couple times to check mom and alleviate my concerns. They provided a grief counselor for my dad, who sadly refused to continue on past the first appointment that I made for him. They've sent follow-up support materials several times over the last year. My only complaint would be getting a couple of "beg letters" asking for donations, but that's minor and a normal part of dealing with a non-profit.

My aunt was on hospice for a much longer time, several years ago. A different non-profit, also very good care. She was in a small AL, and hospice added enough support to their offerings that she was able to stay out of snf (the one in her little town isn't good), despite being bedridden & advanced dementia the last several months.

The AL that I'm aiming Dad towards has a partnership with the local non-profit hospice, so hopefully we can have an equally good experience when the time comes.
I'm in Ontario Canada and I've got to say I'm envious of the hospice model available in the USA. Our gov't give lots of lip service to aging in place and home care, but the front line troops seem almost dumbstruck that anyone would choose to keep their loved one out in the community rather than place them in a nursing home, more than once I have been advised to "get on with my life". Our gov't health insurance covers home care if you qualify and care is coordinated through a central agency. Our case manager visits twice a year and decides on the level of care needed, then orders home care through an approved agency. The problem is that each level of care is carried out by a separate agency and there is no cooperation or communication between them. I was amazed to discover that everything I have covered with our nurse is not automatically passed on to the doctor! I'm not confident that there will be enough support available to me as our needs increase. My hope is that my mom dies in her sleep and never reaches the point that she needs 24 hour nursing care, my backup plan is to call an ambulance and transfer her to hospital.

The care my brother received when diagnosed with terminal cancer was amazing and sounds similar to your hospice model. There was a coordinated team of doctor, nurses and psws as well as the many volunteers, which I suspect must have been coordinated by the Cancer Society. He chose to spend his last weeks in the hospice wing of a local hospital and the nurses were amazing and compassionate.
Cwille , interesting post from the north country. I rember visiting my wife's sister in Toronto many years ago. Her 2 year old daughter was running a high fever, she called the local med service and a nice young doc showed up less than an hour later. there was no payment or bill. For Americans this was amazing. Has this level of service been eroded now in Canada?
Windyridge, it is a matter of contention in the province that successive provincial governments to put too much focus on Toronto and environs (GTA) and the rest of us get to share their costs without enjoying the same level of service. I'm fortunate to live in the relatively populous southwest, god help those up in the boonies! That said, you will never hear me complain about universal healthcare, I shudder to think of where my family would be without it. Now complaining about the way it is run is a different matter...
My experience has been quite limited. My sister's cancer had continued to metastasize to the point that she had a second respiratory collapse and had to be hospitalized. Dx tests confirmed the continued advance, like Napoleon's army, of the cancer to almost all organs. Doctors advised us of the grim outcome which we hoped never really would happen.

After I spoke with a few doctors who had previously treated my father, and who I knew to be aggressive and not quitters, and seeing my sister's more rapid deterioration, I spoke with the nursing staff about options going forward for the short time remaining.

The suggestion was to move her to ICU, which was done, then to a hospice area on one of the medical floors. No transfer out of the hospital was necessary.

That was a relief and comfort to us; my sister wasn't in any condition to be moved anywhere from one room to another.

We were given privacy, a comfortable room a few doors down for privacy if we needed to just get away. We discussed the medicine and from there were just left alone until her death occurred.

It was very professional, respectful, soothing to the point that any end of life situation can be.

I have had one other experience with hospice but the whole situation was manipulated by an emotionally unstable family member, and since it was so negative, and hopefully so unique, I won't even mention it, including the funeral which was orchestrated by the so-called hospice "minister" - it was an embarrassing farce.


CWillie, does the care manager actually select the home care therapy company? Does the family have any choice in the matter? I'm wondering as I'm thinking about some of the great therapists we've had, and some that weren't at all great and had to be replaced.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

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