Spring has arrived and the signs of change are all around us. Trees and flowers show their buds in parks and gardens and the days grow longer, brighter, and warmer. With the arrival of spring, I’m reminded of all the seasons we New Englanders experience, and how they mirror the changing seasons of life. Some, like spring, bring renewal. Others bring changes that are more challenging to experience.
At Merrimack Valley Hospice, our goal is to support patients as they move through a profoundly meaningful and yet challenging season of their lives. Hospice is a compassionate approach to end-of-life care that focuses on comfort and quality of life for patients with advanced illness, when cure is no longer possible. It’s about honoring the time that remains by enjoying simple pleasures and treasured moments with family, friends and loved ones.
For Barry, a patient of Merrimack Valley Hospice, turning to hospice means enjoying the scones his wife bakes, joining his friends on walks through the neighborhood on his scooter, and watching his grandsons on the basketball court. In his last course of treatment for cancer, he found himself constantly feeling awful – unable to eat, not tasting what he did, so weakened and sick that the extra few months the treatment might bring him were not filled with the “life” he wanted to enjoy.
Deciding to set up hospice was a chance to focus on how he wanted to live and connecting to the resources that would help him do that. Today, his hospice nurse Lisa visits weekly, scheduling his care around his life. She’s adapted his medication delivery to a time that works best for he and his wife’s daily plans, arranged her nursing visits to fit into his schedule. And she is responsive to the concerns and needs whenever they arise. They work together to improve the quality of his life, understand his wishes and reach his goals.
“Some people wait too long to enjoy the benefits of hospice. I knew I wanted to get the most of life. Deciding on hospice, I chose how I wanted to live.”
To learn more about Merrimack Valley Hospice, as well as the affiliate agencies of Home Health Foundation, Home Health VNA and HomeCare, Inc., read our annual report here.