Hospice care isn’t about giving up, it’s about making a decision—a decision that can define how the final days of a person’s life will be lived.
“The misconception is that hospice care is about dying or about giving up, and it’s not,” said Ingrid Roemischer, Development and Outreach Coordinator of High Peaks Hospice. “The patient is who we take care of. It’s still their life, it’s still their choice.”
When a doctor gives someone six months or less to live, they often have the option of staying in a hospital and receiving treatment. Hospice caregivers, like those who work and volunteer for High Peaks Hospice, can offer the patient, and the patient’s family, other options.
“A lot of people want to be home their last days, and we help them do that,” Roemischer said, adding: “It’s care, it’s not a cure.”
What Roemischer means is that the purpose of hospice is to offer support and to make a person’s last days as comfortable as possible.
High Peaks Hospice staff members become as involved as the family, and the patient, would like them to be, and will come to a person’s home, nursing home or hospital.
Staff can visit daily, or weekly, depending on a patient’s wishes, and can perform tasks that range from simple conversation to helping take care of the patient.
It’s what Roemischer refers to as the circle of care. In the center is the patient, and then the primary caregiver and the patient’s family. Around that is hospice, and then the doctor.
The bulls-eye is always the patient, the focal point of all factions of hospice care, and everyone with a diagnosis of six months or less to live is eligible.
“We do not turn people away based on age, gender, race, religion, or ability to pay,” Roemischer said.