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Are You Considering Hospice Care? Read This First.

The choices that patients and families need to make around end-of-life care are difficult and distressing. It can be a hard subject to talk about with close friends, much less within a family.

No matter how difficult it is, we encourage you to have your conversations early… before you really need them. This will help take some of the emotion out of the dialogue, and also allow the patient to express his or her desires.

What kinds of questions should you be asking? Things like:

  • Does our loved one want to spend his or her final days at home? Those wishes should be front and center as you discuss the options.
  • Are we able to commit to in-home care, or do we need to consider a hospice residence?
  • Does pain management play a significant role in our choice?
  • Does our chosen end-of-life option provide us with a way to make memories and cherish the time that remains?
  • Do we need to incorporate out-of-town family and friends into the end-of-life experience?
  • In light of COVID-19 concerns, which end-of-life care option balances the emotional and physical needs of our loved one and family members with personal safety for all?

Once your loved one and your family have discussed these questions and agreed on the desired option, it’s time to do some research.

First, talk with people from places like Hospice of North Ottawa Community. Check them out, ask questions, and get a sense for what your experience would be like.  Don’t be afraid to ask any question that comes to mind. If you are considering a hospice residence, be sure to ask about the current policies related to visitation and care. Also ask about their COVID-19 caseload and what they are doing to ensure patient and visitor safety. Second, talk to your loved one’s physician about what is happening. He or she may have some important insights about issues such as pain management or care giving that can inform your decision.

Your neighbors at Hospice of North Ottawa Community would be honored to stand by your family in this difficult time. Local people who saw the need for a more personalized and personal end-of-life experience founded this Hospice option. Our medical director, Dr. Stuart VanderHeide, is board certified in hospice care, and has extensive experience with pain management options.  He, along with the rest of our staff, can provide care at home or in a living facility.

If you decide that a hospice residence is the best choice, we invite you to consider Heartwood Lodge. This beautiful community gem, nestled in the dune grasses near Lake Michigan, provides a peaceful and pleasant place for families to spend their last days together. While we do ask all visitors to take precautions, we are welcoming family and close friends to create final memories with those they love as they visit our beautiful Lodge.

Regardless of which option you choose, can rest assured that your family will receive compassionate physical, emotional and spiritual care on the journey, and support in your grief afterwards.

If you’re reading this and have questions, please call us. It’s never too late, and we’re always here to help. You can reach Hospice of North Ottawa Community at 616.846.2015 with any questions or to get more information.

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