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A Story About Hospice

Updated: May 5, 2021

Recently, my husbands grandmother (Bubbie) passed away. She was nearly 94 and had lived a full life of family, friends and cherished memories. Unfortunately, Covid got in her way of spending the past year with her grandchildren and she died without having a chance to hug much of her family goodbye or meet her two newest great-grandchildren.

While the pain of leaving without a proper goodbye will never truly diminish, our family is grateful for hospice. Formally in hospice for only 4 hours, she passed comfortably, with her daughter and son in law by her side, after a 21st century 'face-time' goodbye with family.

Several days before she died, 'Bubbie' was admitted to the hospital. Her heart was failing, fluid built up in her lungs and her days were beginning to number. The doctors were confident she would be discharged home but encouraged the family to consider palliative or hospice care. "These events will continue to occur and will likely be the cause of death in the coming year" they shared. Thankfully, Bubbie, with support from her daughter and the medical team, engaged in difficult conversations, gained clarity and eventually decided that hospice felt right. Hospice would ensure her comfort and safety throughout the next year, and would allow her body to peacefully and painlessly go when ready. After several days in the hospital, regaining strength and recovering, Bubbie went home to formally enter hospice. However, within just a few hours, her breathing labored and took a particular pattern which indicates the end is near. She received morphine and threw it up - another sign, according to the nurse, that death was imminent. The hospice nurse turned to Bubbie's daughter and said "the end is coming - be sure and call the family who will want to say goodbye." After the formal goodbyes, on face-time and in person, Bubbie took her last breath. She died in her own apartment, comfortable and surrounded by love...because of hospice.

I am certain that without hospice, upon her return to her apartment with labored breathing, the team would have quickly readmitted her to the hospital. These good intentions would have likely resulted in a hospitalization and eventual death that would not have mirrored her wishes; a death that would not allow her family to formalize their goodbyes and close the chapter on decades of memories with Bubbie. Hospice gave the family this opportunity and for this, we are grateful.

Plan for your end now so those who you care most for can benefit from the love, support and guidance hospice can offer.

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