Many view hospice as a place where care is received, but in reality, it is a philosophy of care—a philosophy based on the patient's comfort, quality of life and unique needs.
"There is a stigma that hospice means giving up," says Bob, the husband of a LightBridge patient, "but nothing could be further from the truth. Hospice means quality of life, help, and support. And LightBridge Hospice goes above and beyond that."
Quality of Life
When Sandra, Bob's wife, came out of a failed cancer surgery and was given only 2-3 months to live, she made the decision right in the hospital to go on hospice care. Bob recalls with awe how, only a day after returning home, LightBridge Hospice was there with all necessary medical equipment, staff, and medication to manage Sandra's condition. After going through such an invasive lung and heart surgery, Sandra's pain medication to manage her incredible discomfort had rendered her exhausted, foggy, and unable to enjoy her life. Bob recalls how much of a gift it was to both him and Sandra to have different medications available to manage her pain and allow her to think clearly with improved function, and be fully present in her life. "The minute you have better pain management- and Hospice does that so well- they give you your mind back, then you can start talking about what you would like to do when you feel good for an hour, or a half a day, or a day," says Bob, "and you can go do those things on your list- fly a kite, take a walk in the park, view a sunset, put your toes in the sand at the beach or whatever it is that helps you enjoy life. Hospice gives you that quality of life back." Because of the quality of care and pain management Lightbridge provided for Sandra, she surpassed her original life expectancy of 2-3 months.Instead, they were given another 8 months and a day, something that Bob calls a "gift and a miracle" for the both of them.
With such a stigma surrounding hospice care, Bob wishes more people would realize what life-amplifying asset it can be, and implores people to seek help sooner. Before Sandra's diagnosis and decision to seek hospice care with LightBridge, Bob lost his sister, Kimberly, to kidney cancer; unfortunately, she resisted seeking hospice care until the final two days of her life. "What I know now about my wife's journey with hospice could have helped my sister so much," he says, as he recalls Kimberly's incredible suffering throughout the final months and weeks of her life. "My wife made the decision coming out of the hospital after a failed cancer surgery to go directly on hospice, and she had a quality of life for eight months- it was such a contrast to what my sister endured." Bob describes receiving help and comfort from hospice as life-enhancing; something he recommends to everyone who is struggling with a terminal illness or facing an end of life journey.
In addition to improving quality of life, Bob describes the care and support they received from LightBridge as exceptional and invaluable. One of Sandra's wishes was to have Bob involved in her care for as long as possible. LightBridge taught Bob how to care and manage his wife's condition as it evolved through her journey. LightBridge was there every step of the way and was invaluable for both of them. "I could call LightBridge Hospice day or night, at any time, with any question or concern, and they would be there and would stay the whole time we needed them, which is such a comfort for a caretaker. Everyone came to us,” recalls Bob. I can't imagine trying to get my wife into a car, get her to the hospital or clinic, or doctor, and then wait in line and then wait for her medicines. Had that been the case, she wouldn't have lived eight months." Because Bob and Sandra had the support they needed in their home, precisely when they needed it, Sandra could focus on living a quality of life that brought her joy and normalized her situation as much as possible.
LightBridge understands the importance of living every day to the fullest and worked with Bob to be able to manage Sandra's pain and provide her with opportunities that filled her final days. One such experience occurred shortly after Sandra's initial surgery when she was still very frail and vulnerable. It was Christmastime, and Sandra was insistent that she be able to attend a Christmas Eve service at her church, a half-hour away from their house. Bob recalls LightBridge's medical staff balancing medications, appointments, and making arrangements to make it happen. It meant so much to Sandra, and it left a lasting impression on Bob. Additionally, the next day LightBridge had a harpist come to their home to perform for them for Christmas, a blessing they found beautiful and touching. "That's LightBridge," says Bob, simply. "I could give you a hundred examples."
Our mission at LightBridge is to provide grace, strength, and hope to all our patients and their loved ones facing the end of life journey. Please reach out to our incredible team who are available and ready to answer any questions or concerns you may have.