We celebrate hospice care not because of the death of a loved one, but because of the transformative journey each family might experience. At Hospice Hawai‘i, that opportunity for transformation is at the very heart of all we do with a terminally ill person and their family. Hospice staff and volunteers are guides to an entire family as they, together, live out the rest of the life of a loved one. For some families, an expert hospice worker can be a beacon of light in an otherwise dark and fearful situation.
Hospice staff can provide the setting and opportunity for families to reconnect and, in some cases, reconcile old wounds. They can bring relief of pain and suffering, offering a good night’s rest for both the patient and the family. Hospice also offers very practical support to the family by teaching care giving as a person’s overall condition changes.
We celebrate hospice because of the profound lessons hospice can share with each individual they work with. Quoting the Rev. Mitsuo Aoki, who recently passed away this summer, the Hospice Hawai‘i Chaplain Clarence Liu reminds us of three such lessons: We must embrace death to find love, we must walk through loneliness to find solitude, and we must walk through anger to find forgiveness.
As we celebrate National Hospice month we are also reminded of the very practical impact hospice care has on our society. Patients and families who receive hospice care have very high levels of satisfaction and suffer less distressing symptoms, such as pain and achieve a higher degree of preparation for the end of life. Our own experience at Hospice Hawai‘i is that a family who has had hospice care is better prepared to deal with the normal grief. Our emphasis on the whole person and their whole family, with particular attention to each individual’s experience means that their care is individually tailored to them.
National Hospice month reminds us all that hospice care is not just about keeping someone comfortable until they die…at Hospice Hawai‘i it is about bringing hope, reducing fears and impacting lives.
Take time this month to reach out to someone in need; your life will be better for it.
Kenneth L. Zeri, RN, MS, NHA, President & Chief Professional Officer Hospice Hawai‘i – He has more than 25 years of experience in hospice and palliative care. He is the current president of Kokua Mau, a statewide hospice and palliative care organization, and serves on various professional organization committees on a local and national level; including, Aloha United Way, Healthcare Association of Hawaii, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, and Hospice & Palliative Nurses Association.