Hospice is not only for the patient but also the family - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Bobby's Bama

Hospice is not only for the patient but also the family

(Source: WAFF) (Source: WAFF)

Dale McGregor was diagnosed in 2009 with nonalcoholic cirrhosis.  In May of 2014, with other health issues, he began stumbling, falling, losing weight, a little confusion and became very weak.  

After a time on Palliative Care, Hospice was soon called in to help him and his wife, Debbie.

"Having somebody come here and not have to you know to stay out of the doctor's office and the hospital that was the main reason," said Debbie. "And they could kind of keep an eye on him."

Hospice was there day and night for the McGregor family.

"If it was in the middle of the night and if I had a question, I could pick up a phone and I could call and somebody there was going to answer or come out and check him."

Their children live nearby and came in to help as much as possible.  Debbie said talking with her grandchildren was also part of the process.    

"Death is part of living. It's a part of life and it just happens just like birth does. But they got to see the decline in their Pop and they were here when the nurse came out when he passed away," said Debbie.

One misconception about Hospice is that it's strictly for the patient. It is for the patient but it is also for the patient's family.

Hospice has a bereavement program, which also helps children, in the schools.

"And also, in the summer, they have Camp Hope.  And this past summer they all went to Camp Hope and that was something Dale did.  He had volunteered with Hospice," Debbie said.

Registered Nurse, Beth Hawkins was the family's case manager.  At any given time she may have eight to 12 other patients.  

"It's very rewarding.  And you keep the patient comfortable and being able to be there for the family. They seem really relieved when you walk in the door and feel better when you leave," said Hawkins.

Some people are still confused about Hospice and what it can mean to families.  

Stacy Codding, R.N.is an educator for Hospice of the Valley.

"Family education, comfort, preparing families and patients for the next step, coming up with a plan of care, whether it be for symptom relief, whether it be social issues, whether it be living wills, power of attorney, sitting down with family and helping them come up with a plan," said Codding. "Our goal is for a peaceful passing for our patients and to have prepared our families and loved ones."

The love that Hospice workers have for the patients is what really helps the family.

"They all have a compassionate heart and that's what’s important," added Debbie.

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