by Lori Harasta
What if you had a little time to plan your death? You could make amends, have meaningful conversations with loved ones, impart wisdom, and get a last hug.
That is a big part of what hospice is all about.
The Ventura County Area Agency on Aging (VCAAA) hosted an award-winning documentary film called, “Consider the Conversation” earlier this month. Dr. Lanyard Dial, President/CEO and Medical Director of Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association (LMVNA) introduced the film and led a follow-up discussion for the 33 attendees.
The movie encourages the viewers to think ahead of time about what they want at the end of life, and to discuss it with their loved ones. Acknowledging it is a difficult subject to bring up for family members, experts emphasize the importance of having the conversation.
There are wide-ranging misconceptions about hospice. Many think it is about giving up living. Actually, it is allowing the patient to hopefully live life with quality and meaning as opposed to being consumed with medical appointments and treatments that more often than not deplete energy and time to spend with loved ones.
When a person suffers with a terminal illness, the entire family is impacted. It can be a bigger event for loved ones than for the patient. That’s why the hospice team provides care and support, not just for the patient, but the entire family.
Dying from a terminal illness can be a long process. Some families, unwilling to admit their loved one has a limited time to live will put off receiving hospice care. They do themselves and others a disservice by prolonging the dying process instead of prolonging living. Many people on hospice care live longer and have better quality of life than they would without.
If you are like most people, you want to die on your own terms, with dignity and surrounded by love. Hospice can enable you to do so.