Chapter Five: Peace, Comfort, & Dignity

Chapter five is a video overview of the care provided by Seasons Hospice of Rochester MN in southeastern Minnesota. In chapter five see how Seasons Hospice ensures the patient is in control of his or her own care. Patients define their own goals, and make decisions for as long as possible about the level of care they wish to receive.

NARRATOR: Seasons Hospice is about allowing the patient to gain control at a point when few choices are left.

NURSE: --increasing your pain medicine, do you think?

PATIENT: I don't think I would.

NARRATOR: The patient can make her own care decisions for as long as possible.

NURSE: If you do change your mind, I want you to give us a call and let us know, so we can stay on top of it.

JULIE ASSEF: Really what hospice looks to do is to understand what this person wants out of this time, and to tailor and personalize that plan of care to meet that person's goals. Not our goals, their goals as an individual.

PATIENT: They have made very clear to me that it's your life. You're in charge here. You make the choices. And that's been comforting also. Because to some degree, it helps me understand they are really here helping me make this last trip.

JULIE ASSEF: So everything about hospice is really trying to give that patient back a sense of control about their life.

DR. THOMAS MILLER: Many of our patients have the opportunity to choose the circumstances in which they die. They would prefer not to be hooked up to tubes, and wires, and bells, and whistles, and all the distractions of tertiary care. They want peace and comfort. And we try to do everything we can to enhance their peace, their comfort, their dignity.

PATIENT: I'm becoming too much of a burden. It's hard for her to have a life.

FAMILY MEMBER: He worries about that. And I worry about him. I think we do spend a lot of time worrying about one another.

JULIE ASSEF: One of the nice things about hospice is that we have the professionals, but we also have volunteers. So the volunteers might be able to come sit with him for awhile, or do some errands for you that you haven't had time to do. Maybe just come and visit for a while so that you can go out and maybe do some things that have been sitting on the back burner.

FAMILY MEMBER: Then I wouldn't be worried.

BEVERLY HAYNES: We have volunteers that go into the home to help with many different things.

FAMILY MEMBER: I'm really glad to see you here today.

NARRATOR: Being the primary caregiver at home cannot only be physically exhausting, but emotionally depleting. So caregiver support is part of the Seasons Home Hospice plan.

VOLUNTEER:--to do the dishes?

NARRATOR: Both patients and caregivers benefit from extra assistance during challenging times.

JULIE ASSEF: What I see happening as hospice begins to interact with a patient and their family is that the family is able to reestablish the role that they had before they became the sort of M nurse for the moment.

JANE KERSTEN: I had spent so much time with my mom doing the bathing, doing the nail care. You know, it was kind of fun. And we tried to have a good time about it. But it definitely was stressful for my mom as well as for me. So when the hospice nurses came along, they were able to do all of those kind of activities with my mom. It made such a difference to me. Because I felt then our relationship changed. Instead me being mom's caregiver, I was mom's daughter again.

TIM HANSEN: They create a situation where you can focus on that incredibly difficult task it is to say goodbye to somebody that you love so much.

NARRATOR: Sometimes, even with the in-home assistance offered by Seasons Hospice, a caregiver still needs break. Respite care is available through Seasons Hospice, so the patient can be cared for at Hospice House, providing the caregiver with a chance to rest and rejuvenate.