VITAS Innovative Hospice Care
3033 Jefferson Drive, Suite 204
Joliet, IL 60435
Hospice makes a difference
In 1979 my father was diagnosed with cancer. He chose to forgo aggressive treatment; my mother cared for him at home until his death, absorbing all the emotional and financial costs.
She was exhausted. He was in pain. Could it have been managed better? I don’t know. There was no hospice in Plainfield or Joliet, no one talked about end-of-life care the way we do now.
Then in 2010 my father-in-law began treatment for lymphoma. He was in remission for awhile, but a year ago his oncologist recommended hospice. I remember my father-in-law saying “Hospice? Hospice is for people who are dying!” But the doctor said hospice would meet his needs.
And the doctor was right. A hospice aide helped my father-in-law bathe and tidied his apartment. Medical supplies were delivered. Shifts of nurses took care of him at home when his symptoms were severe, so he didn’t have to go to the hospital. And it was covered by Medicare. He told me, “I should have done this a long time ago.”
The hospice team helped my wife and me, too. They helped us be honest with her father, and that opened the door to conversations my wife still cherishes. First it was, “You mean I’m not going to get strong enough to go outside?” Then it was conversations about God and heaven. Finally, it was acceptance. He said once he was worried that his wife wouldn’t recognize him when they met again, because he’d lost so much weight.
And one day he just expelled his last breath. There was a sense of peace and closure. I couldn’t help comparing it to my father’s death. This time, we were supported emotionally so we could support him. There was no doubt we had done everything we could—everything hewanted. That is a tremendous gift at a difficult time.
For information on how VITAS can help your family, call Norene Scheck, Senior General Manager @ 815-729-9352 or go to HospiceCanHelp.com and download the free Considering Hospice Care: A Discussion Guide for Families.