What My Hospice means is different to each individual and family we serve. For Dave Terwilliger, it meant handing over his caregiver “job” so he could focus on being a husband to his wife, Maureen. As Medicare’s first coordinated care model, we must protect the services provided for spouses, like Dave, through the Medicare Hospice Benefit.

While Dave watched his wife Maureen fight cancer, he took on whatever role he needed to support her. Sometimes it was helping to make treatment decisions, although Dave is not a doctor or a nurse.  Although he’s not a counselor, Dave worked to support his wife and their family emotionally.  Dave is not a pharmacist, but he managed Maureen’s myriad of prescriptions.  He has never trained as a health aide, but he moved, bathed and transported Maureen. Wearing so many hats changed the nature of their relationship, but when Maureen elected hospice care, everything changed.

Here Dave shares how, for the last four months of her life, he was able to be the husband Maureen needed, thanks to hospice.

Our hospice team came into our home and became the “managers.” Nurse Deirdra evaluated Maureen weekly, managed her symptoms, coordinated with doctors, ordered medications, answered my questions 24/7 and instilled confidence in me, and assured Maureen’s comfort.  

Amber was our aide, who bathed and dressed Maureen as well as changed and washed bedding and helped to feed and care for Maureen. 

Donna was our social worker and provided the emotional support we all needed, not just Maureen but also me and our two sons. Hospice also worked with the pharmacy to coordinate ordering medications and having everything delivered right to our door.

I realize now that I simply could not have gone through this experience on my own; I didn’t have the knowledge, understanding or ability. With hospice, Maureen received every form of care she needed, right where we both wanted her to be, comfortably in our home.

Our hospice team provided her a comfortable, peaceful journey to the end of her life, and maybe most importantly, they gave Maureen her husband back for those last four months of her life…something that was priceless to us both

We invite you to keep promoting the power of hospice by joining the My Hospice campaign. Please consider sharing this post with your family and friends on Facebook and Twitter, or share your My Hospice story with us.