As a funeral director for almost three decades, I have witnessed many changes in the death care industry. Of all these changes, none has had a more positive effect than the advent of hospice programs in my opinion.
Before hospice for years families struggled daily while caring for terminal loved ones, many times with little or no support. Sadly, these patients themselves often had little professional support and sometimes no support other than what family and friends could provide. At the end, loved ones were faced with the task of making final arrangements, usually physically worn and mentally fatigued. Hospice programs have had a huge impact in this area, providing the caregivers with “respite care” and allowing them time to rest and relax.
Hospice has had other positive influences in funeral planning as well. It has been my experience that families working with hospice programs are generally better prepared for funeral planning. Many hospice programs offer funeral counseling as part of their programs. These can range from general information counseling to assistance with all stages of planning or preplanning a funeral. It has been my observation that families hospice in altadena involved with these hospice programs are many times far less stressed during the funeral arrangement conference and certainly better informed.
Today in almost all areas of the United States hospice programs are available. Hospitals, nursing facilities, etc. have long recognized the positive impact these programs bring to the patients and their caregivers. Finding a hospice program can be as simple as calling your local medical facility or health care provider and requesting this information. Any of these facilities should be able to provide you with referrals to your local hospice programs.
As a funeral professional, I encourage anyone faced with caring for a terminal loved one to consider a hospice program in your area. The benefits and support of these programs are immeasurable to the patient, caregivers and families. I cannot think of better advice to give to any family with hopes it will make the burden of final planning easier to bear.
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