Hospice is not just for end-of-life. They can actually help when you want to improve someone’s quality of life” Linda

My wonderful dad, Martin, a Marine veteran in his seventies, was suffering with COPD and congestive heart failure. He was doing okay on oxygen at home, but increasingly required more oxygen, and was always just sitting in his chair. He was weak, but I didn’t think he was going to pass soon.

I had heard that the Center for Hospice and Palliative Care (Hospice Buffalo) focused on improving “quality” of life, so I decided to give them a call. Within days, a Hospice homecare team began scheduled visits to help us care for Dad at home. Hospice gave us all time to focus on the delightful moments left in Dad’s life — visits from his grandchildren, cherished conversations, and his ability to enjoy weekly burgers from Red Robin. Dad loved those burgers so much that he made a goal to taste each one on the menu. Hospice Buffalo was definitely making a difference in his life! We were so happy that he was receiving such excellent care.

During a visit in early April, his nurse immediately knew something was wrong and suggested taking Dad to the Hospice Inpatient Unit. Surrounded by family, he slept steadily in a beautiful room with his favorite music playing in the background. The day came when his doctor explained in caring words that he would not be going home. That day, I sat alone with Dad and tried to grasp what was happening. I was comforted by his ability to rest so peacefully.

It was early spring when we received the heartbreaking call that our magnificent dad had peace­fully passed. Our experience with Hospice – from the first call to the very end – was absolutely wonderful. I would tell anyone who has a loved one suffering with a serious illness to call Hospice Buffalo. They can be there for everything you need to help you and your family through the difficult journey. I wish I had called sooner, but I am thankful for those four months we had together.

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Christopher Kerr, Chief Executive and Chief Medical Officer of Hospice Buffalo, said, “Too often we hear those same words — ‘We wish we would have called sooner.’” Kerr adds, “Studies show that hospice and palliative care can improve life quality and even prolong someone’s life when introduced early in an illness. It is essential for our community to understand that hospice doesn’t mean giving up, and is not just reserved for final days. It is the most comprehensive care available and it is fully covered by Medicare.”

November is National Hospice & Palliative Care Month, and Hospice Buffalo is launching a “Hospice Helped Us” campaign, asking those of you who experienced the benefits of hospice care to be an advocate and help those suffering with serious illness live life as fully as possible. Like Linda, please consider sharing your #HospiceHelpedUs story on social media or email us at info@PalliativeCare.org.

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