How Hospice and Palliative Care Helps Families

At the recent “Light up a Life” event, hosted by San Diego Hospice, guest speaker Councilmember Marti Emerald shared that “San Diego Hospice carried us through.” For those unfamiliar with hospice care, this statement may sound odd. Yet, for many families who have been touched by the services of hospice and palliative care, the statement makes all the sense in the world.

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It’s hard for anyone to imagine what one goes through when living with a terminal illness or losing a loved one. For those in this situation, hospice and palliative care can provide an incredible layer of support, comfort and medical care for the patient and family members involved in this journey. Hospice and palliative care uses a team-oriented approach in providing compassionate, expert medical care to seriously ill adults and children. In addition to the incredible medical care provided to hospice patients, support and counseling is also available to the patient’s family members. Care is usually provided in a patient’s home or wherever the patient resides.

Making the decision to choose hospice care can be difficult. However, patients and families who have experienced this specialized care say over and over again, “I wish I would have come on to hospice sooner.”

For Craig, choosing hospice care was about helping his wife through her debilitating illness, as well as receiving support for him and his children. Craig eloquently describes a moment of time that explains how San Diego Hospice helped his family.

“…on Tuesday, my wife Susan was feeling the best she had in over a week. Her renewed energy and spirit were welcome signs, and she wanted to see the children. Callista, our 5-year-old daughter, and Billy, our 3-year-old son were enjoying the children’s playground at San Diego Hospice – only 100 feet outside the patio of Susan’s room. They’d play outside, then come in and visit Mommy

That afternoon, Susan and I were able to have a comforting conversation about how pleased she was to see the children’s happy spirits, and how they had transitioned so well to Daddy, Grandma, and Uncle Scott’s increased roles in their lives. We were grateful for the support and quality time that San Diego Hospice gave our family. It allowed Susan to feel comfortable about “passing the torch,” a concept that had now come to the forefront of Susan’s mind, undoubtedly giving her the inner peace she needed in coming to closure with the fear that her family would not fare well without her.

…San Diego Hospice enabled Susan to be a devoted mother as long as she lived. They provided me the courage to move forward as a loving husband and father through the end of Susan’s life and into the life that the children and I have ahead of us. I know the dedication of the team at San Diego Hospice provided all four of us with quality care, support, and guidance that allowed us to participate as a family in Susan’s life, and in her death. In so doing, Susan’s ultimate experience with death included dignity, with the utmost attention to her comfort, in beautiful comfortable surroundings.”

Learn about the life-affirming programs and services that can be provided through hospice and palliative care. Locally, learn more about San Diego Hospice online. For hospice programs in other cities and states, check with the California Hospice and Palliative Care Association or National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization for more information.

Written by mdelacalzada

Communications Executive, Social Media Aficionado, Caregiver Advocate. Currently serves as the Executive Director of Communications and Public Relations at San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine, a non-profit community-owned healthcare organization since 1977.


3 Comments on "How Hospice and Palliative Care Helps Families"

  1. Kate says:

    Just read your article and found it to be very touching. Please allow me to introduce our book, “What’s Next? A Search for Hope”. A family’s story of strength and courage as they deal with malignant melanoma.Information can be found at:‘sNext?.html
    Warm Regards,
    Program Coordinator,
    Positive Heart Living Inc.

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