Hospice care is about living well

Vailia Dennis says she is living proof that entering hospice doesn’t mean you die on anyone else’s timetable.

Dennis, 91, of Rancho Bernardo, Calif., signed up for hospice care 6½ years ago, after she was diagnosed with a fatal heart condition. At the time, she was told she’d have six months to live.
“The illness, the heart condition that I have, is one that should have and could have caused my death a long time ago, and just hasn’t done it up until now,” Dennis said. “Nobody knows why, and that’s OK by me.”

Dennis was 85 when her doctor gave her the bad news.

“The doctor wanted me to go in for open heart surgery,” she said. “I refused, and I thought it made a lot of sense. I’ve seen people my age go in for open heart surgery and, when they come out, they aren’t the same. They are more fragile.”

Dennis promptly called San Diego Hospice and signed up for its care. She already knew that hospice care was what she wanted and needed.

“I have had three members of my family die at hospice,” she said. “Hospice, to me, is like handing my problems to an angel. That’s the way I feel about hospice.”

This quote, from a Caring.com article, is a wonderful story because it demonstrates the fact that entering hospice care is not a death sentence. There is often a misconception of hospice as simply a place to die, when in fact it is everything but. With a focus on comfort allowing patients to enjoy life on their terms, hospice care is a proven choice.