“Take me home,” Claire whispered under the oxygen mask in the ICU room. Her partner nodded and asked us to bring her home knowing she would only have days to live. I stood there as a young medical social worker intern and witnessed a room that was filled with sadness, suddenly start to come alive. The entire team of caregivers from The Elizabeth Hospice started to work toward one goal. It was no longer a room with just tears and despair waiting for the inevitable. There was a sense of mission and determination. Claire’s family who, until that moment felt helpless were now able to make their loved one’s last wish come true. They were going to bring her home. Soon, the hospice nurse arrived and arranged for Claire’s discharge from the hospital. The patient and family left the hospital with smiles on their faces. While Claire’s death days later was sad, I smiled knowing that she had passed away peacefully surrounded by her family.
Many of the people we care for wish to die at home where they can spend their last days with their loved one. However, caring for a terminally ill family member is not an easy task. Family members, finding themselves in the role of a caregiver, are filled with questions. “What do I in case of an emergency?” “Am I equipped to take care of someone with medical needs at home?” “Do we have to hire a nurse?”
The Elizabeth Hospice, our community’s largest independent nonprofit hospice provider, supports and brings comfort to those with a serious illness and helps families navigate through an overwhelming time. Hospice emphasizes that the patient and the family have the most input in deciding the course of treatment.
The Elizabeth Hospice is here to help. To learn more about our hospice care and grief support services, call 800-797-2050.
By Saori Kobayashi, Medical Social Worker at The Elizabeth Hospice