A Home Away From Home

By: Dana Casadei, Angela Hospice volunteer

November for many is the month with Thanksgiving. For some, it's the month when it's finally time to put up their holiday decorations. But for the hospice community, November is a time to raise awareness.

Started in 1992, long after the first Thanksgiving, November became the National Hospice and Palliative Care month. The number of hospices in the United States has speedily grown since the first hospice was founded in 1974. That includes Livonia’s Angela Hospice, which was founded 11 years later in 1985.

In 2013 more than 1.5-million patients received services from one of 5,800 hospices nationwide. Angela Hospice served 1,760 of those patients.

While the numbers for 2014 haven't been totaled yet, Agnes Chor's husband John was one of this year's many patients that received care.

During his one month and three days in the Angela Hospice Care Center, Agnes spent nearly every night with him, making it a home away from home.

"I was grateful they would let me spend the night with him," she said. "I ate a lot of meals there."

She even brought her red slippers from their Livonia home and noted that she could do anything there that she could at home. That included watching movies and walking around the "absolutely beautiful" grounds she said.

Staying at the Care Center almost every night allowed Agnes to see what really happens behind the closed doors of Angela Hospice.

"They (the staff) were good to everybody," she said. "It wasn't because I was there that they were on their best behavior. They just did what came natural to them and they were excellent."

Sorry, no dirty secrets to be revealed here.

After taking care of her husband at home for five years John was moved into a home. Agnes said that he had been in three or four within a year and a half. She also said that Angela Hospice was the best of the group.

"It was like family was taking care of my husband," she said. "It was like they considered him their family. So it was their job to take care of him. I just thought it was fantastic. I loved it."

Being in such a warm environment surrounded by caring people also took some of the stress off of Agnes. She said that the nurses were so good at checking on their patients and that bed sores John had acquired previously were gone within weeks of arriving at the Care Center. She also said that the staff took just as good of care of her as her husband.

When asked what she may say to someone that had misconceptions about hospice care, Agnes simply said she would definitely recommend hospice.

“I would recommend Angela Hospice to anybody, everybody,” she said.

“The number one comment we receive from families is that they wish they had chosen hospice sooner,” said Mary Beth Moning, Interim President/CEO of Angela Hospice. “National Hospice and Palliative Care Month is a great time to spread awareness about all that hospice has to offer for patients and their families – the compassionate physical care, the supportive spiritual, emotional, and social work services; and the grief support available to families and the community.”

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