Patient: ‘Hospice isn’t all about death and dying’

WRAL.com | April 7, 2016

“Don’t wait until the last minute [to start hospice services],” she said. “Hospice isn’t all about death and dying. It’s about transcending where you are and getting ready for when the time comes.”

When Barbara began receiving help from Transitions HospiceCare (founded as Hospice of Wake County), she discovered that they begin by wanting to understand the patient’s goals to make the final months their most fulfilling.

Barbara, like 70 percent of all Americans according to surveys, says she prefers to die at home surrounded by family. Contrary to a common misperception, hospice isn’t an actual place. it’s a philosophy of care that’s practiced around 80 percent of the time wherever the patient calls home — whether that’s a private residence, assisted living facility or nursing home.

But Barbara also didn’t want to be a homebody during her final months. Transitions HospiceCare scheduled regular transportation to a local senior center where she could continue to socialize. The Transitions team even arranged to fulfill a couple of Barbara’s dreams — the opportunity to fly in and “co-pilot” a private plane, and take a ride on an old-fashioned steam-engine train.

“Transitions HospiceCare cares for the whole person: physically, mentally, emotionally,” Barbara explained. “All my needs are taken care of. All my supplies are taken care of. I don’t have to worry about anything.”

Hospice care usually provides a comprehensive range of services that is typically covered in full by Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance.

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