We are all runners in this life.

We are all runners in this life. It is a misconception that hospice takes care of people who are dying.  If it did everyone would be eligible for hospice care because everyone is dying.  Life is a terminal illness.  That said, who does hospice take care of?  Hospice cares for patients whose illnesses can no longer be controlled or cured by procedures or medications.  

What do you say to someone to help them accept hospice?  Well, one thing to say after explaining the services hospice offers is to ask what do they think will happen if they get on hospice too soon?  The answer is really a good thing---the person gets discharged from the hospice program.  They have stabilized or gotten better and no longer need the guidance that hospice offers.  Great!  And that does happen.

Getting on the hospice program when a person’s condition is deteriorating in spite of all the treatment that is being or has been done is accepting a different kind of medical help.  It is not saying I have given up hope.  It is not implying that I am dying tomorrow or next week but it is getting help that centers around family, the significant people in our circle of life that are affected by the life changing events that are occurring, and help for ourselves as we face life with illness, pain, fear, and eventual death.

What is so bad or scary about that?  The scary part is that everyone has to admit, on paper, that there isn’t going to be the cure everyone was hoping or praying for, life isn't going to end the way they imagined.   People come face to face with one of the realities of life--everyone dies.  Fortunately hospice services can support and guide everyone during that scary time.  Knowledge and not being alone reduces fear.  Hospice helps reduce the fear we all bring to end of life decisions.  It takes courage to face reality and we can face reality best when we have all the facts and are not alone.