By Joe Cadovich, Hospice Community Liaison
I am extremely proud to be part of a team that strives to do all it can to help patients live a more fulfilling life in their final days coping with a terminal disease. Karmanos Hospice is the only hospice program in Michigan associated with a hospital.
It is also a licensed, Medicare-certified, Joint Commission-accredited, interdisciplinary program with 20 years of experience providing expert symptom management and supportive care for patients with any type of life limiting illness. We treat all those who have terminal diseases — not just those with cancer.
Working with the hospice program, I find there’s a misperception that once the ailing feel that they must turn to a hospice program, they have indeed given up on themselves, they have failed to get better and that their situation is hopeless.
I prefer to think that when people turn to hospice, they are seeking a different form of hope. It’s the hope that they can live out the rest of their lives pain-free and have their symptoms well-managed. It’s the hope derived from experiencing the end of life filled with dignity and the chance for them and their family members to find inner peace with their health situation.
Just recently, the Karmanos Hospice staff met a lung cancer patient admitted to our hospital. She had been given every treatment appropriate for her condition, but unfortunately the cancer had metastasized. During a consultation, her physician told her that her best option was to seek services with Karmanos Hospice.
The woman agreed, with the stipulation that she receive hospice services at home beginning that evening so that she could be with her family on Christmas day, just seven days away at the time.
Our physicians, their support staff and even our hospice team were reluctant to let her go home, considering her condition. Staff wasn’t certain she would survive the remainder of the weekend.
Through the grace of God, her own undeterred spirit, hope and ample comfort measures for pain and symptom management put in place by her Karmanos medical team, she was able to enjoy Christmas with her family.
We were even able to assist her with her request that she help her husband shovel snow. Our occupational therapist at Karmanos helped this woman increase her strength and found a safe way for her to rest the snow shovel in her hands while her husband pushed her in her wheelchair so that she could remove snow.
What’s this brave and tenacious woman’s next goal and source of hope? She and her husband look forward to spending Easter with their grandkids. They plan to decorate Easter eggs in wild colors and are scouting out the most unique hiding spots in and around their home right now.
I like to think that through the assistance of Karmanos Hospice, we’ve helped prolong this woman’s life and made it possible for her to live with the hope and joy given to her by her family.
To contact Karmanos Hospice, please call 1-800-527-6266 and ask to speak to the Hospice Department. You can also visit www.karmanos.org. Our hospice services are available to people living in Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties. Primary care nurses serve as case managers and, along with the two medical directors, are available on a 24-hour basis.
Karmanos Hospice’s special fundraiser
Karmanos Hospice is joining various Max & Erma’s restaurants in metro Detroit to hold a special fundraiser to benefit hospice services. Dine in or order carryout from Max & Erma’s restaurants in Plymouth, Livonia, Novi, Rochester and Clinton Township on Thursday, April 21, present a special coupon found at http://www.karmanos.org/pdf/MaxErmas.pdf and 20 percent of the proceeds from your order will benefit Karmanos Hospice. Click here http://www.karmanos.org/view_news.asp?id=856 for more information.