Our Hospice House Manager recently got a call from a rural nurse advocating for her 95-year old client living in a remote community several hours away from Prince George. She explained that his "dying wish" is to come visit his sister in Prince George. She had been trying with no luck for several months to find a place that could accommodate him and provide the 24 hr physical assistance that he needs. He was feeling more and more depressed, eating less and less and losing weight. He was dying. As a last resort, she called Hospice.
After consulting with the Hospice team, we agreed that although this is not a typical admission for Hospice, he indeed met our criteria. He was dying and he needed symptom management. He had a broken heart.
When I told the nurse, she was overwhelmingly grateful. She said when she told him he began smiling and laughing for the first time in months. Within a few days he was on his way to PG.
When he got here he was full of smiles and quickly surrounded by family. He tenderly embraced his Hospice nurse and gave her huge kiss on the forehead. His appetite improved and his sense of humour was in top form! His wish had been fulfilled.
In getting to know him over the week we learned that he was originally from PG and moved to this northern community with his wife many years ago. Having become a widow several years ago, and suffering from various health issues, he was no longer able to live alone. The result was that he moved into a bed in the hospital. He was alone. He hadn't seen his sister in several years, and she too was too ill to travel to see him.
As a Hospice society our goal is to provide client-centered holistic care at the end of life. Care of the whole person, not just the physical. In this gentleman's case, his need at this time was social and emotional – and it was beginning to affect him physically and psychologically.
After only one week at Hospice, this gentleman's quality of life improved - his mood, his appetite, and his energy. And we see this time and time again. People come to Hospice in dire straits, and improve after admission! There is just something special about the care received at Hospice. It is our pleasure to give meaning to people at the end of their lives. Hospice is definitely a home for living!
We feel privileged to have been able to care for John, and to be a part of helping him fulfill his "bucket list".