Denis Lynch, lead chaplain at HopeHealth, reflects on hope as seen in the universal symbols and celebrations of light that mark the darkest time of the year. As we approach the year’s shortest day on December 21, we are all too aware of the decreasing daylight hours and long cold nights. Light and warmth become daily concerns.
I am a hospice care physician with HopeHealth. My colleagues and I bring comfort and care to individuals and their families when time matters most. If you or a loved one is considering hospice, your doctor may give you a list of hospice agencies to choose from. Not all hospices are the same. You have the right to review your options and learn more about them before making this important decision.
As a hospice physician with HopeHealth, I care for people with a progressive illness after cure is no longer an option. This final phase of life often comes with significant emotions as well as complex symptoms related to the illness. It’s a vulnerable time for individuals and families, and my colleagues and I try to offer comfort and hope.
In recent months, America has witnessed three public figures choose comfort care in their last days of life: Barbara Bush, Aretha Franklin and Senator John McCain. Although we don’t know exactly when during the course of their illness they chose to suspend curative treatment, we do know that each of them wanted to spend their last days at home with those they love.
For people who are terminally ill, animal-assisted therapy has been shown to address the basic needs of love, belongingness and self-esteem, according to a 2014 study published in the psychology journal of Mount Saint Mary College. Animal therapy is also associated with natural pain management and emotional support, a decrease in loneliness and an increase in socialization.
If you’re caring for someone with a serious illness, you know the road can be tough. Caregiving can wear you down emotionally and physically and make it hard to respond to others. Here are some tips to avoid burnout and be ready for the task of caregiving.