is a specialized form of medical care for individuals with a life expectancy of six months or less, focusing on comfort, quality of life, and symptom management. It affirms life and recognizes dying as a natural process, neither hastening nor postponing death. The aim of hospice is to help patients live as fully and comfortably as possible, providing comprehensive support for both the patient and their family. This unique approach to care is exemplified by the stories of patients with terminal cancer who, with the help of hospice, were able to fulfill their final wishes, such as feeling the sun on their face or visiting the beach one last time. These experiences highlight that hospice is not just about dying, but about making the most of the time that remains, finding joy, and creating meaningful moments.

Living Life to It’s Fullest

My clinical manager recently shared a story from an admission she did in early July 2021. She went out to admit a patient with multiple cancer diagnoses who was sent home from the hospital to pass away at home. The doctors at the hospital gave the patient a few days to maybe a week or two to live.

She parks in the driveway, enters the house and heads to the bedroom where everything (hospital bed and all) was set up prior to the patient being brought home by EMS. She finds the patient facing the bedroom wall with back towards her and the patient's spouse at the head of the bed, hands on the patient's head and shoulder providing comfort. She introduces herself as the

…and then suddenly the patient turns around faster than one might think for a person ridden with cancer who could go at any moment, screeches in a loud voice flapping hands as if the patient could get out of bed and grab my manager while wearing fake vampire teeth!

My boss shared it took a few moments to compose herself, and then everyone started laughing and having joy-filled cries based on this elaborately planned hoax by a person who did end up passing later that week. Hospice is about living!

One of my bed-bound cancer patients this past spring had a wish of wanting to have the sun kiss his face before the end. The family helped me get the patient into a transport wheelchair to take the patient outside on a sunny day to allow this wish to come true. Hospice is about living!

Another cancer patient who came on board with unbearable pain related to cancer had a wish to be able to go to the beach one last time with their spouse and their rescue dogs. We were able to get the patient's pain level under control such that they were able to go on one last vacation to the beach. Hospice is about living!

There are many ways to look at the storms that come into our lives. One of the reasons I love being a is that our focus is on comfort and living the best days for whatever days are left. Hospice is about living!

Conclusion

is a compassionate and person-centered approach that focuses on the comfort, dignity, and quality of life of individuals with terminal illnesses. It is about helping patients live their best days for whatever time they have left, supporting them in fulfilling their final wishes, and providing holistic care for both the patient and their family. The stories shared in this article illustrate that, despite the challenges of terminal illness, hospice is truly about living. I can see that you are passionate about compassionate, person-centered end-of-life care. The introduction and conclusion provided here emphasize the core principles of hospice care, focusing on living, comfort, and dignity.

Resources

Understanding Hospice Care: Is it Too Early to Start Hospice?

What's the process of getting your loved one on hospice service?

Picking a hospice agency to provide hospice services

Medicare — Find and compare hospice providers

The Importance of Caregiver Journaling

Reporting Changes of Condition to Hospice

Eldercare Locator: a nationwide service that connects older Americans and their caregivers with trustworthy local support resources

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My Aging Parent Needs Help!: 7 Step Guide to Caregiving with No Regrets, More Compassion, and Going from Overwhelmed to Organized [Includes Tips for Caregiver Burnout]

Take Back Your Life: A Caregiver's Guide to Finding Freedom in the Midst of Overwhelm

The Conscious Caregiver: A Mindful Approach to Caring for Your Loved One Without Losing Yourself

Dear Caregiver, It's Your Life Too: 71 Self-Care Tips To Manage Stress, Avoid Burnout And Find Joy Again While Caring For A Loved One

Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I've Loved

The Art of Dying

Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying

Providing Comfort During the Last Days of Life with Barbara Karnes RN (YouTube Video)

Preparing the patient, family, and caregivers for a “Good Death”

Velocity of Changes in Condition as an Indicator of Approaching Death (often helpful to answer how soon? or when?)

The Dying Process and the End of Life

The Last Hours of Life

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. The amount generated from these “qualifying purchases” helps to maintain this site.

Gone from My Sight: The Dying Experience

The Eleventh Hour: A Caring Guideline for the Hours to Minutes Before Death

By Your Side , A Guide for Caring for the Dying at Home

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