Home » In the Magazine » Hospice helps. Believe me. A daughter’s story of her Mom’s end-of-life care experience

Hospice helps. Believe me. A daughter’s story of her Mom’s end-of-life care experience

A daughter’s story of her Mom’s end-of-life care experience Mom had a gift for being everywhere at once—effortlessly helping, supporting and cheering on all those she loved.

She was a cheerful, animated, excitable soul who stayed on-the-go, balancing everything to be there for those she cherished–our Dad, her three girls, her many friends, and her devoted family.

In 2012, our high-energy mom began to exhibit clumsiness and was losing control of her motor skills. Weakness in her legs and feet led to trips and falls. In time, when she was diagnosed with ALS, it was she who needed our attention and care. My sisters, father, grandmother, and aunt readily learned what we needed to do to care for Mom’s needs as her physical control declined.

We managed as a team pretty well. Mom had lost movement of her arms and hands, and eventually lost the ability to speak to us. It quickly became apparent the disease was progressing. We were having difficulty managing her anxiety and keeping her comfortable at home. As our fears mounted, we realized if we wanted to keep Dad’s and Mom’s wishes, we should call Hospice of Central Ohio for an evaluation.

From the minute the nurse arrived to assess Mom, we felt a sense of relief. The bed and supplies we needed arrived within hours. Just having Mom in the adjustable bed lessened her anxiety and allowed her to breathe more comfortably. Throughout our experience, first through palliative care services and later with hospice support, we came to know the whole team–our nurse Brooke, aide Stephanie, chaplain, and social worker. They compassionately informed us about what we could expect, and most especially, how we could best care for Mom. As daughters, we were grateful to see how having the hospice team in place also lifted a burden from our father.

This horrible disease comes with no timelines so we didn’t know what to expect. By April of 2016, Mom’s breathing became more difficult and we could sense she was becoming scared. I remember this was a very emotional time for our family. Our hospice team talked with my Dad about how the Selma Markowitz Care Center, operated by Hospice of Central Ohio, would be best to manage these escalating symptoms. Because of the relationship we already had with our hospice team, we knew we could trust their recommendation and knew Mom would be cared for around the clock by a dedicated team who would treat her like family.

Little did Hospice of Central Ohio know how important that family atmosphere was to our family. Family and friends came to visit Mom around the clock for each of the six days she was in the Care Center. We shared meals in the kitchen, became acquainted with all of the staff, and met new friends who were experiencing this stage of life with their own loved ones.

We knew Mom would be kept comfortable, but had no idea the comfort that would be provided to us. The staff was sensitive to our needs and updated us as they assisted Mom. When Mom’s condition changed, my sisters and I were never alone. Everything–every stage–was explained so that we felt prepared, if one can ever really be prepared to say good-bye to a mother.

After Mom peacefully passed away at age 51, the care that Hospice of Central Ohio provided didn’t end. Sheri, a bereavement counselor, came to speak with us immediately. I have met with her a few times since Mom’s death, and feel relief with her assurances.

If I could tell you one thing about hospice, it is, “Don’t be skeptical.” If you think you might need help, ask for it. Hospice of Central Ohio provided so much care and so many services, that I could never list them all. But, I guess that is the point. The team knows what to do and they do it so well. They provided individualized care for ALL of us. With Hospice of Central Ohio, everything was taken care of, and in the midst, our family grew. The hospice team will always be a fond family memory of mine.

You never plan on needing hospice care for you or your loved one. But, thank goodness they were there.

Today, more than ever, we need to take care of the people who take care of us.
-Elizabeth Joyce

Hospice of Central Ohio has been serving central Ohio communities for 34 years. Over the past 10 years, the number of not-for-profit hospices has declined, while the number of for profit hospices has increased substantially. Our mission has become even more important as we work to ensure every Central Ohioan has access to exceptional community-based not-for-profit hospice care. On average we, not-for-profit hospices, spend 47% more on patient care than for-profit hospices. We put patients before profits and we ensure everyone in our communities has access, regardless of their ability to pay.

Find out more about the compassionate care Hospice of Central Ohio provides by visiting www.hospiceofcentralohio.org.