Dying to Get Out of a Hospice

By  //  March 14, 2021

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That famous song stated that wherever I lay my hat, that’s my home. As we travel along the intricate windings of our own road through life, the last place many of us will end up laying our hat is the hospice. 

The hospice is the place you go when the hospital can do no more for you. In other, less elegantly descriptive words, that’s where you go to die.

In this sometimes morbid, sometimes uplifting look at the role the hospice plays in the last days of a person’s life, the intention is to demonstrate that while it may be a place where a person abandons all hope, it is also a place where the abandonment of that hope can be done in comfort and death can be faced with dignity.

Many hospitals are overcrowded and understaffed, yet doctors, nurses, surgeons and all other auxiliary staff manage to stave off death and often miraculously save lives day in and day out.

Yet there comes the times when even the monumental efforts of those wonderful human beings is not enough and patients either die on the operating table, or death takes them in their sleep back in the wards and private rooms.

Others cling on to life while slipping beyond the help of the medical marvels who are frustrated at every turn by the aggressive state of the diseases that have taken hold of those patients.

It is those patients who have slipped beyond the capabilities of medical science to prolong their lives very much further for whom the important decision has to be made.

That is to abandon the treatment that is now failing them and move them into a place that is better geared up, equipped and staffed to look after them in their final days on this mortal plane. That place is the hospice.

A hospice differs from a hospital in that staff there is fully trained to deal with terminally ill patients in their final weeks, days or even hours. They are able to prescribe stronger pain relief drugs in order that the patients can spend their days free of pain and the anguish that may go with it.

The hospice’s individual rooms are fully equipped and comfortable and patients may have visitors at almost any time of the day as long as the hospice is given some reasonable prior notice if out of normal working hours.

There are usually gardens for mobile patients to enjoy and day rooms where they can get together with other patients if they so desire. The atmosphere in a hospice is one of calmness and tranquillity wherever possible and the staff work hard to maintain it.

Should a patient display signs that their time is short, staff can contact family members and arrange for them to be with their loved one in their final moments should they not wish to face death alone.

Being hospitalised with a serious condition is bad enough but to be told there is nothing more the doctors can do for you and death is inevitable is a terrible blow.

In those cases, where returning home to die is not an option, being told that the best thing for you is to be moved to a hospice may be yet a further dent in your slim hopes for remission. But at least you know your last days will be spent in comfort with the best care possible.

In addition to that, once you have resigned yourself to the fact that you have just about reached the end of your days, you’ll realise that there are far worse places to spend those last days. Then with death approaching, you can lay your hat down for the last time with dignity.