Hospice: Not Giving Up

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hospice1For many people discussing end of life care is less than glamourous. 

For those people who have less than a year to live, it's about being comfortable in those final months, weeks, days, and hour, that's when some choose to go into hospice care.


Allison Wright-Roberts of the Caledonian Home Health Care and Hospice explains that "when people choose hospice care it is not about giving up on life." In fact she would argue that choosing hospice is about living and making the final moments on earth more comfortable for the patients.

While shadowing one of the nurses who travels around the Northeast Kingdom delivering home health care and hospice care, we met Betty Anderson. She's a retired military nurse who has been fighting cancer for several years.

"My doctor said they couldn't do anything more for me so i chose to go into hospice."

As Anderson (75) reflects upon her life and her choice to choose hospice she says, "I don't have much more living to do, I know I'm going to die sooner or later, so I just took the easy way out". Hospice officials disagree with that sentiment.

While Anderson says, it's the easy way out, hospice officials disagree with that sentiment. It's a personal choice, one that is just as hard on the families than it is the patients. One of the many struggles with people who choose hospice care is how their loved ones will respond. For Anderson, it was a positive experience with an out pouring of support.

"I have been in the hospital three times in the last six weeks, that helped me decide to go into hospice", she tells we, as she starts to tear up. But then she looks at her husband and the tears go away and she describes how she and her husband met.

"It was getting off an elevator, and he turned to one of the chiefs he was with at the the time. He pointed to me and said, 'I'm going to marry that woman.' Less than a year later, we were married and have been married ever since [40+ years]."

She has the support of her husband who helps her get around in a wheel chair. And during her last visit the nurse says she's doing great.

Hospice officials and Wright-Roberts really want to stress that, "hospice is here to help people and to help them live well until they die. The focus is not on death, it's on living the best life they can until they pass away."