When a Hospice nurse walks through the door to meet with a person facing life’s most intimate passage, many emotions can be felt however fear is usually most prevalent for both the patient and the family. Concerns about loved ones who will be left behind, practical matters that must be addressed, accepting death and pain associated with dying are all major concerns that contribute to this fear.
Hospice nurses are the doorway to an end-of-life care system that includes doctors, social workers, chaplains, home health care aides and trained volunteers. They work together to answer any and all of their patients’ needs, be they physical, psychological or spiritual, support the family members when needed and provide a painless end of life journey.
There is no typical patient at the end of life, each person is unique, and therefore their care is uniquely tailored to their needs and wants. Danny Bagley, a long-time resident and now CMH Community Hospice patient, provides a patient’s point of view to the benefits of hospice care.
After completing intense treatment for liver cancer, Danny’s liver began to fail. After discussions with his wife, Julie, and his physicians they decided hospice was the best plan of care for him. “Almost a year ago, at the end of June, I was sent home with a prognosis from my doctor giving me less than three weeks of life on this earth,” stated Danny. “GOD has been good to me and had other plans because I am still here. With the help of CMH Community Hospice I have been able to continue living a full life without pain for the past year.”
There is often a misunderstanding of what hospice care is, many people think hospice is used when there is no care left to be given. However, hospice provides just that, care, not only for the patient but for the family members as well. “Our first weekend home after receiving this prognosis from Danny’s physicians was 4th of July weekend,” stated Julie Bagley. I remember feeling very overwhelmed with what the next few weeks may hold for me as my husband’s primary caregiver”. “By taking on his care, CMH Community Hospice has taken that stress off of my shoulders and allows me to be the wife. I have my own fears and emotions I experience through this journey. When I feel sad and need someone to talk to, all I have to do is pick up the phone and they send someone out to talk to me and help me through my pain and fear.”
Through hospice, care and support is offered 24 hours a day 7 days a week for both the patient and the family right in the comfort of their home. “In treating my cancer, I experienced a lot of pain. With the help of my Hospice nurse, Linda Seely, I have been able to manage my pain and live comfortably,” stated Danny. “She comes to see me once a week unless I need her more, then all I do is pick up the phone and they come right to my home.”
CMH Community Hospice has given the Bagleys’ the opportunity to continue living. “Life doesn’t stop because you are on Hospice,” stated Danny. “CMH Community Hospice has allowed us to continue to do the things we love. We take our RV camping and have traveled to several bluegrass concerts since last June. I have also been able to visit others who have started with the hospice program and offer first hand support; I could not have done all this without the care I receive through this wonderful service. GOD has his plan for me and through CMH Community Hospice I have been able to fulfill his desire for me to help others through their end of life journey.”
Although people often put off hospice care until the final few weeks or days of care, there are advantages that can be gained from using hospice care earlier. CMH Community Hospice has been providing care for patients and families in Southern Virginia for over 20 years. For more information on CMH Community Hospice please call 434-447-3151 extension 3450 or visit www.cmh-sh.org .
Photo caption: Left to Right: Julie Bagley, Danny Bagley, CMH Community Hospice Nurse, Linda Seely.