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......

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I am glad you asked this...or that I found it. My mother in law had hospice services fro two different agencies. They might have both been the same but one definitely stood out as far as keeping the family advised. I was so impressed and now can suggest to those needing hospice that they are not all the same. We so appreciated the quick phone call to let us know that things were going well ...or not as the case might be. I received calls from the chaplain,. the nurse, the assistant...whoever stopped in that week. I have a friend who is a continuing care co-ordinator and a nurse and she would not recommend her own hospitals hospice...so , yes there is a difference. Admire that fact that you have become involved in this path.
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Windy, I think it's Awesome that you volunteer with Hospice! This is something that I would Love to do in the future!
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I think the most helpful act they did for us was to let us know that my sister would be dying that night. I could get together the family I needed and we planned to spend the night with her, so that we were there when it happened. That meant a lot to us; otherwise we might have felt that she was alone, although at that point we were taking shifts being with her.
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I had a very positive experience with hospice when my sister, age 50, passed from cancer. They were wonderful. They gave her wonderful pain relief, giving us a chance to say goodbye with her not in pain. They took wonderful care of her, allowing me to take a breath and be there for her. And, everyone was on the same page. There weren't huddles of different doctors coming in every 15 minutes with different diagnoses and treatment options. My sister didn't want any treatment, and her wishes were carried out. She passed pain-free and with dignity.
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Oh, I totally understand. I'm not trying to guilt trip here. I'm not a hands on, full time caregiver. I have time for a little volunteering. I know for many caregivers it's hard to find the time just to deal with matters at hand.
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Windy - if I wasn't up to my neck in Dad & Dog & Husband & Work, I'd volunteer. It makes all the difference in the world.
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Pfontes, I've been volunteering for over a year. Most anyone can do it and hospice organizations are always looking for more help. Thanks for sharing your experience. This is typical of my observations of the organization I work with.
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Mom got moved to the Hospice wing of the hospital when it was apparent that she was terminal. In a regular bed/floor for the first 3 days of her stay, it was AWFUL. They "bagged" her hands so she couldn't touch her IV lines, they didn't check her often (so she didn't get her diaper changed), and the nurses acted like I was asking them to deliver the moon when I asked for some of those little mouth sponges to wet her lips. The other thing I noticed is the lack of warmth they projected. They seemed to treat Mom like she was just a lump on the bed - I don't think they really spoke directly to her.

When they moved her to the Hospice floor - it was a totally different experience. The every staff member was kind, warm and comforting. My sister is a CNA (been one for 30+ years) and they told us that we could take care of Mom as much or as little as we want - they supported us. They checked her medicine & vitals and kept us abreast of where they thought she was - we changed her diapers, kept her lips & mouth moist and even bathed her & changed her into her own clean nightgown. My sister & I held her hands through out the nights from both sides of the bed - no "mittens." Even though Mom was in and out of consciousness, they spoke directly to her - told her what they were doing, asked her questions (even if she didn't answer) - they were just KIND. The family was taken aside privately early on & we discussed what was going on and what our preferences were. They gave us a chance to speak openly and shed a few tears away from Mom so we could continue to be calm & peaceful at her bedside. A Hospice worker or two dropped by over the 2 days we were there to talk with us & make sure we had everything we needed.

When Mom took her last breath - the nurses came & did what they needed to do. They closed the room & gave us time alone with Mom. They made the proper notifications - I don't know how we as the family would have known what to do. We had the funeral director at the hospital with us within the hour. Hospice followed up a number of times with Dad - it's been almost a year & he got a card the other day. Nice that they think of us.

So windy.....if you're volunteering for Hospice - God's Speed, my friend. I think everybody should be treated with caring and dignity at the end and a good Hospice provides that.
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Stacey, beautifully, emotionally yet very helpfully stated. I'm glad that their assistance helped you through the difficult times.

My own experience with hospice was very, very brief, but we all relied on them so much for guidance as to what was happening and what to expect.
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Hospice not only took care of my mother but, took care of my sister and me. They are angels.
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