Hospice at Home for the Holidays
Comfort and Quality of Life
During the holidays, it’s where family gathers, traditions are honored, and memories are made: home. And if a loved one needs hospice care, it can be an ideal setting—surrounded by love and familiarity. 1
From the comfort of bed or a favorite armchair, a patient with a terminal illness can smell freshly made holiday goodies, enjoy the laughter of family and friends, hear holiday music and be a part of the festivities.
Because the focus of hospice is on comfort and quality of life, the hospice team addresses symptoms, allowing the patient and family to fully focus on each other and visitors. This lets everyone have quality time with the patient. These are the moments for trading stories and reminiscing about other family holidays and times together.
Keeping Traditions Intact
As the patient’s hospice care providers—nurse, social worker, hospice aide, chaplain and other specialists—visit each week, a bond is formed with each. In some cases they become like members of the family. With their help, many families are able to keep most of their holiday traditions intact.
“My grandpa came home from the hospital in October and was on hospice before, during and after the holidays,” recalls Emma, a digital marketing coordinator from New Jersey. “I remember the hospice nurse became a part of the family for the short time she was with us, making Grandpa laugh, taking care of him so my grandmother could cook the traditional ‘seven fishes’ dinner for 30 family members and friends. Grandpa was able to stay home and open presents with us. Hospice took the weight off everyone’s shoulders.”
Tips for Making the Most of the Holidays
- Don’t try to make this “the best holiday ever.” Having a family member on hospice services during the holidays is difficult, so participate only in those traditions that are the most meaningful.
- Ask about a volunteer. Hospice volunteers are ready and willing to lend a hand, even if it means assembling the Christmas tree or giving the family some time to go shopping.
- Take time during the rush of the holiday season to share quiet, intimate moments with the patient. This is a time for listening and being in the moment.