There may be no more important holiday in the United States than Thanksgiving. It is a day rich with tradition and filled with American Culture. Of course, it is a vibrant synonym for family, friends, and loved ones getting together to celebrate with generous amounts of food, play or watch football, or enjoy their company in the dawn of autumn weather.
Because of that, when a close loved one is diagnosed with a severe and terminal illness, you may feel less inclined to gather together and celebrate as a family. Perhaps, your patient was the turkey master, cooked delicious meals, or was the heart and soul of the party. Yet, just because their physical condition might have changed, there are still numerous reasons to celebrate Thanksgiving with them.
Hospice is a place of love
Remember this: your loved one is under the best care possible. Hospice is not a cell; it is a cloud designed to spare patients from pain and discomfort for their remaining time. In some extraordinary cases, hospice patients may be able to travel for the holidays. It will depend on their general condition, illness severity, and specific medical prescriptions.
We must always have this in mind: even if we are heavy-hearted because of the illness and the celebration, the patient should be the principal decision-maker about their activities. They are going through their process, and maybe they don’t wish to have a big Thanksgiving celebration, or their doctors don’t allow them to travel.
If you are hosting a hospice patient
It is essential to plan by gathering all the information needed to ensure your loved one’s safety and comfort. We should provide enough space at the table if the loved one requires a mobility helper. We may need to adjust the menu to accommodate dietary restrictions or even to include some foods that are easier to eat or swallow. Speak to their hospice care providers about concerns about your patient’s diet, energy levels, allowed and forbidden activities, or mobility requirements.
If you are visiting a hospice patient
Call ahead of your visit to make sure they are up to receive visitors
Do not attend if you feel sick
Recognize the work of the caregivers
Do not organize a large party for the hospice visit
Call or visit your loved one some other time besides Thanksgiving
We are thankful for every patient’s impact on our lives. We honor them daily with our dedication and hard work in providing comfort and pain management, always overlooked by doctors and nurses and supported by a team of professionals. At Ascend Hospice Care, as medical care providers, we focus only on the patient’s comfort and dignity as their life ends.