QUESTION: There’s no doubt that it’s time to place my twin sister in hospice care. Needless to say, we are extraordinarily close and I am losing sleep over what will happen to her. I know I should start by visiting hospice facilities close by, but fear and dread are paralyzing me. Can you tell me what to expect to lessen my apprehension?—Amy
ANSWER: Of course, I’ll do what I can to help. First of all, it may help you to know that your feelings are perfectly normal. You are moving into unknown territory and that alone is bound to cause fear and anxiety. The fact that you are caring for a twin only serves to heighten your emotions. Take a deep breath and take one step at a time. Educate yourself about hospice care by going to www.hospicenet.org. This non-profit organization displays an exceptional Q & A on their website that will answer many of your questions. When you are ready for the next step, make an appointment to visit a hospice nearby. Hospice care is provided by a highly experienced team that includes a physician, nurse, social workers, counselors, clergy, therapists and trained volunteers. It is their job to put your mind at ease—and they will. In my experience, I have found hospice workers to be the most compassionate, helpful, dedicated professionals in the caregiving world.
Patricia Smith is a certified Compassion Fatigue Specialist with 20 years of training experience. As founder of the Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project©, the outreach division of Healthy Caregiving, LLC, she writes, speaks and facilities workshops nationwide in service of those who care for others. She has authored several books including To Weep for a Stranger: Compassion Fatigue in Caregiving, which is available at www.healthycaregiving.com or Amazon.com.