Hospice Team can Provide Vital Support for Primary Caregiver
Friday, July 26, 2019 | Joe Nester
Recently on Facebook, there was an article about Valerie Harper, the actress who played Rhoda Morgenstern on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” and her struggle with Cancer. Her husband Tony Cacciotti, in the article, indicated that despite her doctor’s recommendations for hospice care, he was reluctant to go that route. His reasoning centered on the couples 40-year shared commitment to each other.
As an outsider looking in, I would never be so presumptuous as to say he was making a wrong decision. But also as a person who has spent the better part of 15 years working within the hospice industry, I see some common misconceptions about hospice.
Cacciotti states, “I have been told by doctors to put Val in hospice care.” One of the big misconceptions about hospice services is that it is a place. Hospice is a service that is provided almost exclusively in patients home. A hospice house, a physical facility, can be used for more acute episodes not easily treated in a home setting, but the majority of hospice patients remain in the comfort of their homes surrounded by friends and family.
The second observation and one we often see with a husband taking care of a wife is the belief that he should be able to do it all. I have personally seen a husband in this position, taking care of a wife with Parkinson's, who completely ruined his health in the process and ended up in the hospital himself. Hospice uses a team approach to supplement the care provided by a primary caregiver. The additional help allows the primary caregiver precious time to be present for their loved one, unencumbered with the exclusive responsibility for their care.