the spirit of hospice care for the terminally ill
December 22, 2002 9:01 PM   Subscribe

The spirit of hospice - from a blogger with heart.
posted by sheauga (4 comments total)
Very beautiful and touching. Something I haven't thought of before, but I think I might try it.
posted by stoneegg21 at 9:07 PM on December 22, 2002

Good link, thanks. The writer not only has a heart, but also has a head, and is able to think about the issue and write about it clearly and thoughtfully.

As the writer points out, the problem with hospice services for the dying is not that they aren't available -- they are widely available, at least in urban areas -- but that people don't use them.

Why? Fear. Human fear of dying, of non-being, of the great dark, of the end of all things. Fear even of admitting that this will happen, not in some abstract future, but soon, and you have to make a decision NOW.

Many people, perhaps most people, find this very difficult to do. Relatives, who may be in charge of making decisions for a patient who is demented, find it even harder.

Life is our dearest possession, the one that makes everything else possible. How can we let it go? Especially when our entire culture rails against death, and holds it heroism to fight to one's last breath. How can we turn all our values around and say yes, you should go gentle into that good night?

I'm not sure there is much we can do about this, save to hope for a gradual change in our cultural expectations, and what people perceive as the expected and acceptable way to die, when the body has reached the end and death is inevitable.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 10:57 PM on December 22, 2002

In our area hospice care is spectacular and I've seen the incredible service they provide to the dying, as well as to the families. They are able to provide some of the means to dying that treats that period as still a phase of life that may be meaningful and revealing.

Dying well is a preoccupation to those in sight of the end; not only in terms of what will happen to them, but also in terms of how can they spear their families most effectively. Curiously, this is the area the least information is available.
posted by semmi at 12:06 AM on December 23, 2002

spare, sorry.
posted by semmi at 12:08 AM on December 23, 2002

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