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Yolo Hospice: Comfort, care and support for both patient and family

By From page A9 | September 20, 2012

“At end of life, we’re in a worrisome place, we know the end is in sight,” said Ardeen Wallace, daughter of a Yolo Hospice patient. “You (Yolo Hospice) help us on that journey.”

Calling Yolo Hospice is a positive thing to do for those like Wallace. Hospice focuses on living. Life is precious and, when you have a life-limiting illness, time is precious. This is time in which you can, as much as possible, function well, enjoy your loved ones and participate in the ways you value. Yolo Hospice focuses on maximizing those times for patients.

“I remember when we started the process,” Wallace said. “At the time, my head was hearing it, but my heart wasn’t. That’s part of the journey, to get your head and heart together. The nurse said ‘the important thing is that your mother be comfortable.’ It was a gift I needed to hear. It really helps to have someone around who can help you.”

Caregiving of a loved one is both a loving and stressful activity even when you hire additional help or have a large family. Care usually happens around the clock, requires providing very personal care and, if it is after hours or a weekend, there is not always someone to call. Yolo Hospice can support you as caregiver at all times and helps bridge these gaps. You’ll receive training to care for your loved one with confidence, and Yolo Hospice is available for support 24 hours a day.

The first step to receiving hospice care is calling. When you call Yolo Hospice, you have a resource for all your questions and concerns about end of life issues. Yolo Hospice sends out a team to talk to you and your loved ones wherever you like. The team usually consists of a nurse and social worker who will give you the information to decide if hospice is right for you. They will ask some questions of you as well. The answers will help ensure they understand your desires and that your loved one receives the best care Yolo Hospice can deliver beginning, if requested, immediately.

“My mother felt she was important and getting the extra attention she needed,” Wallace said. “No one could surpass the hospice nurse’s ranking in her eyes. She could talk to him and tell him everything. I can say the same about Yolo Hospice. Hospice emotionally holds your hand, just like when we’re kids and we grab hold of mom’s or dad’s hand for reassurance. Hospice does that same thing.”

While supporting the caregivers and loved ones, Yolo Hospice services provide for the comfort and care of the patient enabling them to stay in their home.

The extensive resources available to you through Yolo Hospice include many experts available as you need them and if you want them. Registered nurses visit to manage the patient’s health and physical comfort. Social workers enhance patients’ and the loved ones lives with emotional support and information about other tools and resources available.

Spiritual care counselors are available to offer support and comfort through a broad spectrum of spiritual beliefs, or find a spiritual adviser from a specific faith for you. Home health aides help patients with personal care and homemaking basics. Volunteers are a vital part of the team giving support and companionship. Bereavement services are also available to adults and children.

“Having hospice involved gave me enough time to think and prepare for the end, and stop the denial we were in,” Wallace said. “Mother died as peacefully as possible. It’s part of the living cycle. It’s OK to accept it. With hospice we have someone around who isn’t going to fall apart, who can give consoling words, I really love that. I have the highest regard for all who do this
work. It’s a real gift to us.”

Yolo Hospice will answer your questions about hospice. You can speak to a representative on the phone or set up an informational interview. You can also call to request a hospice speaker for your community meeting. Call 530-758-5566 or visit www.yolohospice.org.

— Mary Odbert is Yolo Hospice’s public relations representative. Her column is published monthly.

Mary Odbert

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