Receiving a terminal diagnosis is devastating for the dying person and those who love them. But during the final phase of life, priorities naturally shift. As hospice patients and their families face mortality, they often realize what truly matters in life. That time is precious and our relationships are the most meaningful aspect of our lives. Agape Hospice supports patients and their loved ones during the final stage of life. An incredibly rewarding part of being hospice professionals is the opportunity we have to help families come together and strengthen bonds when a loved one is reaching end-of-life.
A common misconception is that hospice is about someone waiting to die. Hospice care is profoundly so much more than that. Its focus is on making the most of the time the patient has left. Through our hospice and palliative care services, we strive to improve and maintain the highest quality of the patient’s life through emotional, spiritual, and medical support during the end-of-life journey. The patient is surrounded by loved ones and our Agape team of professionals skilled in meeting their needs and managing symptoms.
Hospice patients actually live an average of 29 days longer in hospice than in any other alternative end-of-life care, according to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. This extra time means that the patient can be with their loved ones for longer. While the length of life matters, in hospice we believe it’s the quality of life which matters most.
Agape Hospice helps patients and their loved ones find comfort and meaning during the end-of-life journey. Our team members provide support and guidance in working through the emotional impact of the terminal diagnosis towards acceptance and peace.
“Many terminally-ill patients use this time to discuss spiritual and psychosocial matters that have never been discussed between family members before.” (Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life & Palliative Care)
Because all Agape Hospice team members are trained and experienced in being comfortable with death, there can be a powerful learning opportunity for the patient’s family. Family members are able to observe how to be present with someone who is dying and learn how to bring compassion and calmness to any situation.
“A terminal diagnosis and consequently hospice care intractably transfigures the entire family system, not just the patient.” (Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing)
Hospice care also assists families by providing all medicine, medical equipment, and medical supplies. Instead of worrying about filling prescriptions and picking up medications, the family can spend more time with their dying loved one.
Towards the end-of-life, communication between the terminally ill and family members results in more satisfactory care and a greater sense of well-being for the dying.
Hospice brings a gift of peace during the final stage of life. Agape palliative care helps patients and their families to live in the present moment and spend quality time together. They can create memories, find joy, and celebrate the dying person’s life. This can be a time for reconciliation, forgiveness, and healing of old wounds. What is shared in those moments lives on in the hearts of those who treasure their memories long after the hospice patient has passed.
This gift of meaningful time together can even help give the dying person a deeper understanding of who they are and what they’ve meant to others.
“When terminally ill and their loved ones have the opportunity and the openness to freely talk about what is on their minds and hearts at the end of life, the end result is often the relief of stress, peaceful interactions, and greater readiness for the impending outcome.”
— Living with Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
Agape Hospice can facilitate communication between patients and their families. Whether a social worker, chaplain, or counselor, our trained team members can assist and mediate during family discussions. Families often come together and deepen their relationships when they find that a loved one is reaching the end of their life.
Hospice care can also foster reconciliation. On behalf of our patients, we frequently reach out to estranged relatives to encourage them to reconnect with their dying loved one. Even families that have been at odds for years have managed to heal their differences and set aside conflict when they are called to be there for a dying relative. The terminally ill person often wants assurance that their relatives will love one another and take care of each other after they are gone. These types of wishes from the patient can be a tremendous impetus for family members to repair their relationships and strengthen bonds.
“The communication that occurs at the end of life between the terminally ill, family members, and healthcare specialists are critical for a “good death,” because it is only through communication where peoples’ true wishes are heard, understood, and followed that their loved ones are left without regret.”
— Final Conversations: Helping the Living and the Dying Talk to Each Other by Maureen P. Keeley and Julie M. Yingling
Agape palliative care services also extend to the family of a patient including bereavement support and grief counseling. Even when the care of the hospice patient ends, our support for family members does not have to. Our bereavement program offers support and counseling to the patient, the family, loved ones, and any care staff, for a minimum of thirteen months following a patient’s death.
Agape Hospice provides palliative care services throughout LA & Orange County California. Contact us to learn more about the benefits for you or your loved one.