Your Choice for Home Health Care, Therapy, and Hospice
Give Us a Call
262-293-3951
Office Hours
Mon - Friday: 7:30AM - 4:00PM

What do you want at End of Life?

With any important decision comes a frank and open discussion, especially when it comes to medical care preferences. There is always hope this discussion happens before you are unable to make decisions for yourself. These decision are called advanced directives and include your wish for what you want as your health care changes.

Is there ever a good time to talk about this? The holidays might be the right time – when family is together. If you prefer to skip the conversation, record your preferences in a letter, email, or during a routine doctor’s appointment. As long as you are able to communicate your wishes, you can change your mind about how you want to be cared for as your health changes.

Below is a list of questions you might consider to guide the conversation.

– Thinking about your death, what do you value most about your life?
– If you were diagnosed with a terminal illness, would you want to pursue every possible cure?
– Do you want to die at home?
– If not at home, where do you want to die?
– How much pain is acceptable to you?
– Do you want your family with you when you die?
– What decisions regarding care do you want to entrust with others?
– What do you hope for regarding your death?

I believe the most important question is “What do you want at end of life?” I met with a woman who asked her father this, and he said, “As long as I can have chocolate ice cream and watch football, I will be fine.” His answer surprised her, but it also told her what was important to her father and helped guide her when his health changed.

We all have different values. We know that what is important to one person might not be important to another. Spiritual, cultural, social and economics may influence decision-making. Understanding options and what is available is important as these decisions are considered.

Sometimes people do not want to stop curative measures. At some point, however, the person may not be able to physically withstand additional surgery, chemotherapy or other treatment. Palliative care, which helps relieve pain and provides symptom management, can be a relief and an option. Hospice provides care to the patient and entire family. Curative care is stopped and replaced by comfort care to reduce pain and other symptoms associated with the illness. Hospice also supports quality of life while supporting the family helping to care for the patient. Hospice provides a range of services for a variety of illnesses through a team approach that offers support physically, socially, and spiritually. Hospice also offers bereavement to families after the death of a loved one. Hospice does not take away hope – it offers a different kind of hope.

Discussing a care path or change in the goal for care is difficult for family members. However, having the conversations sooner rather than later can ensure you are providing the care your loved one desires.

Kathleen Weston
Preceptor Hospice Director of Operations

What Hospice is All About

I read an article published in the AARP Office of Academic Affairs (edited by Harry (Rick) Moody) about an experience someone had with hospice.  It is a touching testimony to the power of hospice care:

“This past month saw the passing of one of my oldest and dearest friends, Charles, age 89. During the last weeks of his life, I was directly involved in care-giving, along with others, including the wonderful work of Hospice of Boulder, Colorado.

“Charles was bedbound while we had an unexpected snowstorm, covering the world in white. He looked out his window and said, ‘What a beautiful day to be disabled!’ It reminded me of George Vaillant’s work on lifespan development. He was quoted as saying that successful aging doesn’t depend on health or wealth, but rather on forgiveness and gratitude. Forgiveness and gratitude is what Charles displayed in the last weeks of his life.

“When I visited Charles he wondered why it took so long to die. I replied that maybe it was needed to give time for all the people he had helped in his life to call and visit him to give him thanks. He smiled and said that was a point of view he hadn’t thought.”

These insightful moments might not have been possible without the comfort and support hospice care facilitates. I would like to remind readers hospice is a special health care option for patients and families facing a terminal illness. A team including a doctor, nurses, social worker, chaplain and volunteers works together to address the physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs of each patient and family. Hospice is not about giving up hope or waiting to die; it is about living and experiencing comfort.

Preceptor Hospice can help you live your life to the fullest by providing care and compassion to help you and your family with the many questions and concerns that come at end-of-life. Hospice is an experience of care and support, different from any other type of care.

If you have questions about hospice, please email me at Kathleen.Weston@preceptorhhh.com or call me at 262-257-9824.

Kathy Weston

Preceptor Health Care

Director of Hospice Operations

Commemorative Butterfly Release 2019

In July each year, families and friends come together to honor their loved ones during our Annual Butterfly Release. Taking place at our Germantown Preceptor Health Care courtyard, dozens of beautiful butterflies are awakened and released to commemorate the spirit and strength of those who passed.

Sarah Martel, Preceptor Executive Director, welcomed families on July 24, 2019. Chaplain Eric Boon opened the ceremony with a prayer. Luke Edgewood and Tom Wood presented a moving rendition of Amazing Grace. Jessica Gray then invited families to share memories of their loved ones.

Linda Davis shared a poem, “An Angel Like the Butterfly”, written by Mae Stein. The reading of the names of our loved ones lost by Kathy Weston, Director of Hospice Operations, followed. Then it was time to release the butterflies.

The ceremony ended with the song “Hymn of Promise”. The song opens: “In the bulb there is a flower; in the seed, an apple tree. In cocoons, a hidden promise; butterflies will soon be free!”

It is an honor and privilege to be with families and patients as they make the journey of death and dying. Thank you for trusting us. Thank you for being with us as we remember those lost during the last year.

Butterfly Release