Dealing with a Change in Condition: The Role of Hospice in Our Journey

Hospice Care
May 17, 2024

My dad is on Kindful’s hospice service so I’m literally on the same journey as the families we serve. The assisted living wellness nurse was the first to bring the idea of hospice to our attention as my dad had progressed from a one person to a two person assist. This additional need for resources to provide my dad safe, quality care triggered the wellness nurse to talk to us about the journey my dad was on. The journey is a relentless journey of decline but if done right, it can have moments of great beauty, joy and peace.

Finding Relief in Hospice Support

We always want the best for our loved ones but there comes a time where it’s not about getting better, it’s about living the best days you have left. When my dad started receiving the additional care and support from the hospice team my initial reaction was relief. I had been my parents primary support agent for ten years so even I was surprised at the relief I felt when I was joined by the hospice team in caring for my dad. It was a visceral reaction of relief. I could feel my body relax. Who knew I was carrying that tension from the ongoing responsibility of being the point person for my dad.

Coping with a Change in Condition

Up until recently my dad was still able to have lucid conversations, while on the other hand his body didn’t allow him to complete five out of six activities of daily living without significant support. Bathing, toileting, shaving, walking was out of the question, transferring required help. The one thing he could do for himself was eat. We went on in this mode of hospice support, community support and me checking in weekly for several months. Then it happened, my dad experienced a “change in condition”.

Embracing the Natural Process

In my dad’s case his change in condition was a new exhaustion and lethargy and lack of appetite that he had never displayed before. Typically, a hearty eater, he now brushes away meals or only eats a little. And where he used to pay rapt attention to me sharing family photos, now he can’t stay awake. Before he was always active in some way during the day either watching t.v., reading mail, reading a book, or taking a class, now he is in bed during the day, sleeping, looking gaunt and pale.

Cherishing Time and Family Moments

I know this is all part and parcel of the journey and we are at peace with the natural process. Not unlike a flower that blooms and grows and shares its glory with all who see its bright colors and then withers away, my dad has bloomed and shared his glory and is now withering away. What brings us peace is that he is cared for by the community and hospice team members. He is clean and comfortable. We don’t know if he has days, weeks, or months but we do know that we can’t take time for granted. To that extent my brother arranged for an impromptu visit and my sister and aunt will be in town next week. It’s important that they see my father’s change in condition and prepare themselves for the inevitable. For even in the silence of his sleep, I am certain he can sense the moments when his family is at his side.

We are all walking to the inevitable, but with the additional support of hospice, we don’t have to walk alone.

Learn more about Kindful’s hospice care

Ask yourself, is your hospice doing enough? Or are they just going through the motions? We encourage you to let Kindful show you what true care looks like. To learn more check out our resources or contact us at (866) 730-4550 or [email protected]