“I felt as though I had been tossed a lifeline,” says Marilynn of her experience with LightBridge Hospice in the final weeks of her late husband Lou's life. “The team that was put together for us could not have suited us better.” Lou and Marilynn approached hospice care at the advanced stages of Lou’s 8 year-long battle with dementia. When symptoms of Lewy Body dementia began to progress and Lou’s abilities began to deteriorate rapidly, Marilynn knew she would need more support to help both her and Lou navigate his final days.
Understanding the Progression
One of the challenging aspects of approaching hospice is understanding what happens once care is started. Marilynn describes how her case-managing nurse, Cindy, sat down with her and helped her understand what to expect as Lou progressed through his end of life journey. “Prepared and comfortable” is how Marilynn recalls feeling as they discussed, in detail, each specific situation that Lou would experience and how they would manage them. She shared that having the direction, preparation and support to navigate the challenging aspects of end-of-life situations was an invaluable aspect of LightBridge’s care. “To have the experience, knowledge and compassionate guidance is so important,” she shared, “there’s a comfort that comes with that -- having some other shoulders to lean on at a time when it’s really helpful.”
Adding Life to Days
In addition to the guidance that Marilynn found so comforting, Lou’s LightBridge healthcare team provided many enriching therapies and experiences, including an Honor Ceremony, that added much to Lou’s final weeks, even as his condition dramatically deteriorated. “LightBridge was wonderful in how to approach Lou,” recalls Marilynn, “I had high expectations. The team from LightBridge exceeded my expectations in terms of how truly compassionate and empathic everyone was... I could not have been more thrilled. It filled our home with that much more love and that was quite an added bonus.”
Knowing its Time
Many individuals wonder when Hospice care is appropriate for their loved one. Marilynn shared some advice about that. “What I learned and what I hope more people will realize is that hospice can be called in so much earlier, and with the skills of how to assess, the hospice team knows when they can help and how they can help.” Especially for those who are in need of extra support, or who may not have a diverse network of resources, Marilynn recommends “reaching out sooner would be invaluable.”