Decatur hospital, hospice partner on end-of-life preparation pro - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Decatur hospital, hospice partner on end-of-life preparation program

(Source: WAFF) (Source: WAFF)

End-of-life discussions can be the most difficult a family has to bear. Decatur Morgan Hospital and Hospice of the Valley have partnered together to help those families with a program called “Five Wishes.”

Faye Ashton says when her late husband was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, they knew there were steps they had to take quickly.

They both made living wills to ensure the directives were exactly what they wanted in case they became incapacitated. Ashton said they planned everything including the funeral.

"You have the peace of mind knowing that you're not going to have to go through that when he does die,” she said. “And when hospice came in and helped us decide a lot of the things we were going to do. That actually helped me know that I had done the right thing because we were prepared.”

She says that preparation was very important so they can have everything ready at the “end time.”

"You want to be able to have things established,” she said.

"Hospice of the Valley, along with Decatur Morgan Hospital, has been trying to start the conversation in our community about end-of-life issues and the importance of having those conversations before you get in a crisis situation and no one is thinking clearly,” said Hospice of the Valley CEO Debbie Heard.

These issues include things like choosing a health care agent, making medical treatment decisions ahead of time, the level of comfort for the patient, how they want to be treated and the patient’s wish for those loved ones left behind. Even funeral plans need to be established.

"And we really try to gear the family toward listening to the patient,” said Heard.

When a person comes under hospice care, they're assigned a nurse and a social worker. They will discuss things like an order not to resuscitate or an advanced directive.

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