Hospice Stories & Testimonials
Amy Wieland, Executive Director of Hospice of Northwest Michigan, has first- hand experience with the outreach of the organization for which she works. Soon after assuming her position, Wieland found herself supporting her own terminally ill mother in her decision to enter into hospice care.
“Choosing comfort care for a beloved family member doesn’t always seem like enough,” she said, recalling her own feelings last summer. “It is a loving decision that can be very difficult to make.” Like many faced with the inevitability of losing a loved one, she went through the challenge of distinguishing her pain and fears from her mother’s. She eventually came to the realization that “…honoring a loved one’s wishes can bring great comfort and that Hospice is there to help you through this process.”
Wieland feels strongly about addressing the many misconceptions about Hospice care. “I hope to not only change the face of Hospice but ease the fear and educate our community on what Hospice really is and what it is about. One misconception is that enrolling in hospice means that it is inevitable that you will die. Although it specializes in care of those who are in their last 6 months of life, there have been patients whose health has actually improved so that they “graduate” and Hospice is no longer needed. “Think…Life moments made possible by Hospice,” in lieu of “Once you accept Hospice you are going to die…Life is a terminal process…Hospice is not,” she said.
It is important to enroll in Hospice early on, Wieland believes. “By starting a conversation early with the doctor, you can enjoy the full benefit of having a team in place to help you through your journey.”
There is a choice in the Hospice you choose for that journey. It is important to match your needs with the Hospice that can meet them. Before a decision is made as to which one to engage, get referrals and ask questions: Do they have a staff specially trained to support veterans? Can they reach you in 30 minutes or less, should you need them? Are any costs transferred to the patient or the family? A reputable hospice will gladly answer all your questions before you make a decision.