“We started using Hospice Associates services in June 2005. My mother was very ill at the hospital and not getting well. They were keeping her alive on an IV. She had gone into the hospital around March, and they were letting her go home. She had blood clots in both legs, so we thought she wasn’t ready to come home, but they put her in a wheelchair and discharged her.
When we got to the parking lot, my mother fell and had a stroke. Ever since then we noticed she was deteriorating. When we first brought her, she walked into the hospital. But now she was strapped in a wheelchair and in long-term rehab, and we saw that she wasn’t getting any better. She was having a lot of pain, and they told us there was nothing they could do for her. She continued getting blood clots. There was no quality of life. We just didn’t see it getting any better. She was conscious, and she kept telling us she wanted to go home. She’d put me in charge of decisions long before, and so my brothers and sisters and I decided to take her home and go with hospice program.
My mother didn’t know anything about hospice. She didn’t know she was at the end, I don’t think. When we got her home and brought her into the living room, her eyes opened and she said, “I want something to drink.” For the first time in a while, she was able to drink. We had a good month with her—she laughed, she ate ice cream…whatever she wanted, we gave her. We kept her on meds to keep her from being in pain. We saw such a dramatic change in her the moment she knew she was home. I don’t think we would have had that quality time with her if she had stayed in the hospital.
The first week we brought her home, she called all of the family to the bed, and she just kept trying to kiss us, and she just kept saying, I love y’all so much, I’m just so grateful for all of you. She may not have known about hospice, but she knew she was where she wanted to be.
Hospice was so wonderful, they kept us informed of what to expect next, which is so important, and something we never got in the hospital. We knew what to look for—we knew when her time when her time was drawing near. We pretty much knew down to the the day.
I would do it again. Everyone was so wonderful. Demetria was our nurse, and we absolutely love her. We stay in touch, in fact. We laughed with my mother, we told stories together. They kept telling us not to be fooled by it, but she bounced back. The night she died, we were still talking to her. All the family was around her, we all sat at the kitchen table, we brought her in to the kitchen so she could see all of us. We took turns sleeping in her room. She was at peace. You couldn’t have put a price on that.
I think most people have good experiences with hospice, but I think we had a really special experience. At the hospital, we never felt like we knew what was going on. At home, we knew what to do. I found with hospice, the only thing that mattered was the comfort of the patient. And that’s what families want.”