I think most senior citizens will tell you they want to stay in their homes for as long as they can, but for a lot of folks who have a terminal illness the same can also be said and that's where home hospice care can be a God send. Nancy Naeve Brown visited a Sioux Falls woman who found out a year ago she has a deadly cancer, but is just to busy to spend her days in a hospital bed.
As her name suggests Mary Goings has a lot going on. This Sioux Falls woman is in the middle of writing a book in her home office she's calling "Are We There Yet?" depicting women's rights through the centuries, plus she paints and writes poetry. With so much on her plate it's a good thing she is so spry at 95. When the doctors told her a year ago she had terminal cancer she decided she would live out the rest of her life, doing just that living.
Mary says, "I have it, there is nothing anyone can do about it so why worry about it?"
When Mary decided she wouldn't pursue surgery or chemo therapy she enlisted the help of Avera McKennan's Home Hospice Care. Her hospice team has become like family to Mary with their weekly visits. Social worker Sara Nothstine sits and talks with Mary to find out where she is mentally, spiritually, socially, financially and what she can do to facilitate a change if need be.
Mary says, "It's handier, more convenient to be at home. It's a God Send because I can still do what I need to do."
Sara says, "Their success depends on their attitude. Mary has a positive attitude, an outlook on our services and is very appreciative of us coming in to her home and help support what she needs."
Certified Hospice RN Michelle Anderson also comes in once a week to check on Mary and take her vitals. She also has a couple of women who help her with baths.
Mary says, "It isn't that you're not facing death. I mean you're not in hospice unless you are terminal. Terminal can mean a day to whenever. Look at me I think I am surprising a lot of people, I know I'm surprising me. I don't dwell on the situation, move ahead and do what needs to be done and say a lot of prayers. I have a good support system. I am so grateful to my children and friends. I've lived a very blessed life. I really really have. I'm surrounded by people who love me."
After spending the better part of the morning with Mary she can definitely count me in on those who love her.
In order to qualify for home hospice care, your doctor has to determine you have a terminal illness with less than 6 months to live, but you can re-apply just as Mary has.
Avera McKennan's hospice team consists of 25 people including nurses, social workers, home hospice aides, chaplain, volunteers, medical director and hospice pharmacist.
To learn more call Avera McKennan Hospice Services: 605-322-7705
or visit http://www.avera.org/mckennan/services/hospice/index.aspx