Sara Beil: ‘You Have Less Than Six Months Left to Live’ – The Wuesthoff Brevard Hospice Option
By Sara Beil, Wuesthoff Brevard Hospice Executive Director // August 28, 2020
first hospice in the U.S. was founded in 1974
WATCH: Sara Beil, Executive Director at Wuesthoff Brevard Hospice, says hospice is more than end of life care. It is a journey of peace, comfort, love and family. At Wuesthoff Brevard Hospice, we not only take care of the patient but we take care of the entire family – physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally.
Imagine sitting in your doctor’s office or lying in your hospital bed and being told you had less than six months left to live. What do you do? Call someone you love. Take that “bucket list” trip. Ask for a second opinion. Or wait for the inevitable. I am not even sure what I would do.
However, these are familiar words to the terminally ill and for those who know what hospice is – their next call is to us.
Hospice is more than end of life care. It is a journey of peace, comfort, love and family. At Wuesthoff Brevard Hospice, we not only take care of the patient but we take care of the entire family – physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally.
Thus leading to a comfortable, more peaceful journey to the end of one’s life. The word hospice is derived from the Latin word hospitum meaning hospitality or place of rest and protection for the ill and weary.
During the 1960s, Dr. Cicely Saunders began the first hospice program in England which encompassed homecare and an in-patient facility for the seriously ill.
The first hospice in the United States was founded in 1974 – just 10 years prior to the birth of Wuesthoff Brevard Hospice which was in 1984. Being the first licensed hospice in Brevard County has given us time to perfect the art of hospice care. We have over 350 years of hospice experience amongst our caring, compassionate and highly qualified staff.
A patient’s first experience with hospice can be overwhelming. Not only do you have a Registered Nurse and a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) but you also have a Social Worker, a Chaplain, a Hospice Physician and if you would like, a volunteer as well. We consider the patient to be at the center of a care wheel with each discipline having an equal part in that care plan.
Depending on the needs of the patient, these visits can range from once per month for our Social Workers and Chaplains and two to three times per week for our Registered Nurse and CNAs. The care plan is customized to each and every patient because each journey is different.
But who pays for hospice? Unbeknownst to most Medicare, Medicaid and the Veterans Administration pay for hospice at 100%. This includes durable medical equipment, supplies, medications pertaining to the hospice diagnosis and the care provided by our highly trained hospice staff.
We accept private insurance and strive to serve our indigent community as well. We believe that each patient, regardless of ability to pay, should not be denied a comfortable, dignified, peaceful ending to life. In order to qualify for hospice, our Hospice Medical Director will certify the patient has a terminal illness and probably has less than six months left to live.
That does not necessarily mean that patient will die in less than six months but should the disease follows its normal course it is assumed the patient has less than six months.
While hospice is end of life for all of our patients, it is the beginning of something amazing for many others. For cancer patients, after months or even years of harsh chemotherapy treatments or tiresome radiation; we can give them pain relief while also providing precious moments of clarity with their loved ones.
Estranged families are reunited and find closure after years of being apart. We even have the ability to assist with final wishes from toes in the sand to trips to Disney World.
To hear the words “you have less than six months to live” I’m sure is a very scary and overwhelming statement. End of life care is not our only job; we also provide education and understanding to those who need it most.
By contacting hospice today, it does not mean you are choosing hospice, it means you are electing to learn more about the options. For myself and my team, it is your journey and we walk beside you through it. Don’t forget – just as life is a gift, so too is hospice. Let Wuesthoff Brevard Hospice give you that gift!
– Sara Beil, Executive Director at Wuesthoff Brevard Hospice
Call Wuesthoff Brevard Hospice at 321-253-2222 if you need our help managing your patient’s care in their home.