My dad’s doctor recently recommended that he begin hospice care. I’m scared because I’m not ready for him to pass away, especially with the holidays around the corner. Not only that, but I’m afraid that his care would add an additional burden to an already stressful time of year. My fear is that he would die in the middle of Christmas.
Would it be a good idea to put off hospice until after the New Year so that we can enjoy one last Christmas together?
Dreaming of a Hospice-Free Christmas
Dear Dreaming of a Hospice-Free Christmas,
Thank you for reaching out. The holidays can be a stressful time of year for so many reasons, not to mention having to manage end-of-life care for your parent. The good news is, it sounds like you’re making your list and checking it twice.
I want to begin by letting you know that beginning hospice care is not about dying. Just because your father received this recommendation from his doctor doesn’t mean he’s going to pass away anytime soon. As someone who has worked in the healthcare field for the last ten years, I meet so many folks who associate hospice care with a person having 20 to 48 hours left to live. But that’s simply not the case.
Here at Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care, we recommend hospice services to patients and their families as soon as possible for those who are eligible to receive it. Typically, that includes patients who have been diagnosed with a life-limiting condition with a prognosis of six months or less if their disease runs its normal course.
If your father meets the hospice eligibility requirements established by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, you and your loved one can experience the full beauty of what hospice is meant to be. At Crossroads, our goal is to improve our patients’ quality of life, so they can live pain-free and be as comfortable as possible.
I like to tell people that with Crossroads Hospice care, you are receiving an additional layer of care, like a warm blanket. Our team of doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains, nurses assistants, and volunteers are here to serve you, so you and your father can continue living your life.
Now, I understand that during the holiday season, nobody wants to be in and out of the hospital. With everything going on this time of year, we know our patients want calmness and stability in their daily routines. And we want that for you, too. That’s why with Crossroads, we provide hospice wherever a person hangs their hat. That means, we can come to your private home to deliver our care.
If your father’s conditions were to decline at any point over the holidays (even on Christmas Day), our triage nurses remain on call to make those visits. We want you to rest assured that you and your family will spend the holidays together. You can also rest assured that hospice is covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance, so if your father is eligible (and it sounds like he is), his hospice care will be fully covered.
Down the line, Crossroads has several programs that will make this holiday an unforgettable season. With our Gift of a Day program, we can arrange a special experience for your dad that centers on the question, “If you had one perfect day, what would it look like?”
For some patients, that means throwing a tailgating party with their favorite foods and football game. For others, that means visiting with their favorite animals and experiencing the unconditional love of furry creatures! So whatever your Dad can think of when we ask him that question, our team at Crossroads will do our best to meet his wishes.
Something I love about the holidays is the Christmas music, and every year our chaplains host holiday sing-a-longs where they visit patients and hospice facilities and serenade everyone with their favorite Christmas carols. It’s quite fun to see people get into the holiday spirit. Who doesn’t love the sound of “Jingle Bells” that time of year?
From the smell of turkey coming from the kitchen to watching your favorite parade on TV together, you and your Dad should experience all the things you both love about this time of year. On hospice care, all of those things are possible and more.
Crossroads Hosipce & Palliative Care
For more information about the hospice care provided by Crossroads, give us a call at 888-564-3405.
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