Asbury Hospice House
…This could be most anyone.
Perhaps grandparents, or parents, or neighbors.
Bent, gray, and aging, they still live in their own home where they have raised a family and held tight to each other as they have seen friends drift away. Fortunately they still have each other after fifty years, but they know time is short and their limitations even shorter. They manage—until one day.
He is diagnosed with a terminal disease, and despite her best efforts, his health quickly fails. She knows that mentally and emotionally she is capable of caring for him, but that physically she can’t help him. He begins to wander at night or becomes violent and confused. When she thinks of seeking help, she finds the only inpatient facility is nearly a hundred miles away—and they have never been apart for more than a night. Leaving him at the end of his life seems inconceivable.
Through a friend, she learns of an inpatient facility located in her own town and decides to visit. And what she finds surprises her. Large rooms, a garden, and most of all, she can visit everyday or night.
Leaving a home and all possessions behind, including a life mate, to die in a strange place among strangers, appeals to no family or spouse. What matters is seeing that familiar smile or holding a well-worn hand.
When he died, she was with him. Physicians comforted his pain and nurses respected his privacy, but in the end, it was her presence that mattered most.
At life’s end, the idea of care circles around a different philosophy. While we all seek the familiarity of home and family, in many circumstances, a patient’s needs dictate the shape and nature of care. Hospice is just such a philosophy, symbolizing all that is life-affirming–in every setting.
Forrest General Hospital has been providing comprehensive, leading in-home hospice care to end-of-life patients for years. Understanding the complexity of care, FGH plans to create an in-patient hospice facility with a view to expanding our continuum of care.
We envision an in-patient facility that mirrors home by creating a warm, comforting atmosphere where families can gather and prepare in dignity. In cases where a patient chooses not to die at home or where a qualified caregiver doesn’t exist, an in-patient facility would provide needed support. In-patient hospice offers elderly caregivers an excellent care option as well.
Far from a clinical atmosphere, we envision large rooms with a private bath where a patient is encouraged to bring personal belongings. Patients and families can wander outside to gardens, to a library, a chapel or a resource center. Preserving connections, the facility would provide spiritual services and internet access so families can keep in touch. Working in tandem with our existing program, the facility would offer respite to those homebound hospice caregivers.
Specialized, interdisciplinary teams of healthcare professionals will provide physical, emotional and spiritual support while easing pain and managing symptoms.
Today, we have no local options for families. The nearest in-patient hospice program is located 90 miles from Hattiesburg, making it difficult to arrange daily visits.
Looking ahead, FGH envisions a network of hospice care that moves our community forward through quality end-of-life choices.