When a Hospice Worker has to Use Hospice

By Hilary Kramer


For the past five-and-a-half years, I have worked for a small hospice, in a community where everyone seems connected by some thread.  Hospice work is a very rewarding field; we often get to know one patient and family, and then later provide care for other family members who are referred to us.  This community seems to be getting a handle on what services are available and are utilizing that information in order to better deal with the process of death and dying. I am in awe of the way this community is connected to one another for the greater good.

Given my background, it should be easy for me to discuss the subject of death.  Some families never talk about death, as if it will never happen if we don’t say the words.  Others seem to talk about death as an “if.”… And still others seem to have an ongoing dialogue for years and discuss every aspect of an illness and funeral. I have found that everyone starts at a different point.  There is no wrong way to start a conversation, no matter where it begins.  It is my job to work from every starting point and help as if each person and family is starting from the beginning of the conversation and process of dying.


It seemed strange, then, that I found myself talking to my siblings about hospice for my father, who was 90, and dying from complications of Alzheimer’s disease.  He was diagnosed only six years ago, but thinking back there were signs before then that we chose to ignore, because my mother was the one caring for him on a daily basis.  My mother passed away quickly one morning, which left us to try to figure out what to do for dad, while grieving for her.  I flew to Florida, as did my two brothers, and began the daunting task of trying to figure out where to begin.

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Written by robots= on August 1st, 2011 at
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