Delaware Hospice helps thousands

September 17, 2017

We all need support throughout our lives when times get difficult. Lately, a growing number of neighbors have needed meals brought in because residents are battling life-threatening illnesses. Caregivers need to eat and stay strong themselves. My son called me in a panic a few weeks ago as Aunt Sonia was assigned to hospice care in Tennessee. In the 12 subsequent days, I learned how to treat bed sores, administer morphine, and help plan a funeral. One night when I needed help with my aunt, the Tennessee nurse who answered the phone could not come because she services six counties!

Luckily, here in Delaware, we don’t have that issue with the support of Delaware Hospice. DH is the only nonprofit hospice in the state founded by Delawareans for Delawareans. Hospice is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It services 10,000 families every year and is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. Other hospice cares exist in the state, but they are for profit.

When you seek hospice help, you are assigned a team which includes a doctor, nurse, social worker, chaplain, CNA, and volunteer. There are bereavement counselors to help children and other family members as well. Hospice care can last days or many months depending on the progression of the illness.

My aunt and uncle had discussed their final wishes a few months ago. They ordered a double hospital bed so they could remain side by side as they had done for 71 years of marriage. When the bed failed to arrive on time, the hospice aide helped me haul the mattress down from upstairs to put on the sofa bed so they could fall asleep touching one another.

My aunt just missed seeing the eclipse. It was fitting that the sun should disappear within one day of her demise. Her dying wish was fulfilled, and now our uncle will need assisted living.

Jenn Saienni, public relations specialist for Delaware Hospice, says, “November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month. The upcoming holidays are a great opportunity for families to discuss their final wishes as they come together. Sometimes this is when adult children notice that mom or dad isn’t doing so well independently. People need to make their wishes known to their families. We get many calls in January, and many people have never discussed their wishes with their loved ones.”

Hospice is covered by Medicare, Medicaid and/or private insurance. However, if necessary, hospice can absorb the costs not covered, and this is why memorial donations are utterly important. Delaware Hospice does not turn away anyone based on their inability to pay.

Delaware Transitions and Delaware Palliative are two additional programs providing important work. Luanne Holland, medical account executive, explains, “The Transitions program connects the seriously ill to other resources in the state, while the Palliative program helps patients manage symptoms related to serious and terminal illness. Our Community Education Department is here to answer questions.”

Do you want to learn more about Delaware Hospice? It can provide speakers who will attend your organization to help you learn about what is available to you before you need assistance.

Whether you are the caregiver, the patient, a civic organization or church congregation, call 302-856-7717 to discuss enlisting any service.