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I started this blog as I entered my 40th year, and now firmly in my 40s, I continue to learn so much about life. I'm learning that life rarely goes according to plan and that there's something new to learn every single day, be it a subtle nudge or a smack in the face.... This is my blog about muddling through my 40s-working hard, writing a book, being an ammateur photographer, trying to exercise and eat well, endeavouring to be the world's best aunt, as well as having fun and laughing out loud every single day.

Monday, September 28, 2015

#78 Hospice In The Home



Did you know that on average, in Australia, only 15% are able to die at home? Granted, many people need medical assistance and are required to attend a hospital, but as I've recently learned, dying is not a medical issue - it's a natural process that isn't spoken about nearly enough. Is that why we fear it so much?

Dying in hospital has large financial implications, a burden which can be removed by respecting the wishes of those who choose to die in the comfort of their own home.

I am still haunted by memories of my Nana's last weeks in hospital, fearing that at the age of 92 she would be forced to move from living in her own home and placed in a nursing home. She was dying, but no-one said that. No-one told us she would never go home again and we argued with her about her need to stay in hospital. No-one listened to her. They/we all knew better. She died alone one early morning around 4am in her hospital bed. I know she would have been cold.

Of all my regrets, I wish I'd stayed with her instead of saying goodbye to fly 1800km away. I wish I'd advocated harder for her and took her home one more time. I wish we'd let her go home, where she wouldn't have died alone.

I guess I am just realising as I'm typing this that my latest project is very much about righting that wrong.

Last week I started an 8 week training course to volunteer for Hospice in the Home, a new not-for-profit organisation aiming to assist patients and their families to have the choice to die at home when the time comes.

I'm doing this in a way to give back to my community, but if I'm honest, I'm also doing it to learn more about death and dying.

If you want to read more about this amazing organisation, follow this link.



3 comments:

  1. I so agree Jodie. Many people wish to die in their own home where they feel happy & comfortable. One of the challenges is many need intense medical help 24/7 before they pass to manage pain. Not sure how you would get around this?

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    1. You are absolutely right Mel, pain management is very important and that is managed well by the palliative care team, along with an advanced care plan made with the patient about how they'd like things to be for them at the end. Our role as volunteers will be to fill the practical gaps for the family, not to have an active part in the person's death. So all of that side of things is managed by other services because the aim of course is to make things as comfortable as possible for the person - but this can mostly be done in the home. We apparently overestimate the need for hospitalisation at the end of life and when you think about the absence of need for resuscitation and medical intervention to save a person's life, it makes sense that in many cases death can occur quite naturally and peacefully in the home. I'm learning so much!! x

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