Female hospice patient hugging husband

Hospice is about living life to the fullest

During the summertime, many of us travel and take vacations. Our lives are a journey of sorts, and many refer to the end of life as a journey to heaven. But what about the journey here on earth?

While we all hope for eternal joy with God in heaven, our joy is lived in the here and now. Taking one day at a time is key to living life as our Father intended, and there is no more important time to do that then when our time on earth is limited.

I have talked about how hospice has helped many patients and families through difficult times, but I’d like to describe also how hospice is more about living life to the fullest.

Visiting cherished places

Young woman with grandfather in wheelchair in park.Even as our lives draw to a close, we may find the urge to travel. Maybe we want to see our birthplace one last time, or revisit a place with special memories.

I have several places with deep meaning to me, including the park bench on the Rock River in Rockford where I asked my late wife to marry me. If I have the time, I like to visit that place when I am in the area, and it brings me peace and comfort. Some want to spend time in nature, or perhaps go fishing again. Maybe we want to see relatives one more time, and do so in person rather than just by phone. Or maybe we have somewhere that is on our “bucket list.”

Hospice is about achieving our own goals, to the extent possible. Not everyone can make those trips, but if we are able to, hospice can facilitate.

Helping fulfill wishes

Senior male hospice patient with walker surrounded by familyWhen someone is near the end of life, they often require many medications, or equipment, to ease their symptoms or support them. If they additionally want to travel, there are hospice agencies virtually everywhere in the U.S. that can help. When a patient is in hospice, we provide these things, but if they travel outside of our service area, we can reach out to other hospice agencies to either transfer care during the time of travel, or to be on standby as needed.

Being in hospice does not restrict you from travel, or doing the things you want to do. In fact, it encourages you to live life to the fullest, one day at a time, and we do whatever we can to help that happen.

Since hospice focuses on the needs of the patient and family, we could perhaps say that at the end of our earthly journey, we transfer patients to that eternal hospice known as heaven, where our joy will be complete. It is our honor and privilege in hospice to walk with you on those travels.

About Author: Robert Sawicki, MD

Doctor Robert Sawicki photoDr. Robert Sawicki is the Vice President of Clinical Services for OSF Home Care and Post-Acute Services. He has led efforts to develop and improve care for patients with chronic illnesses and has a special interest in end-of-life care and hospice.

Dr. Sawicki received his medical degree from Rush University in Chicago, Illinois, and completed his residency in family medicine in Rockford. He practiced family medicine in Bloomington, Illinois, for 20 years before moving into leadership roles with OSF Home Care Services.

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Categories: Palliative Care & Hospice