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Montrose Voice, No. 277, February 14, 1986
File 007
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Montrose Voice, No. 277, February 14, 1986 - File 007. 1986-02-14. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. July 6, 2020. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/4675/show/4652.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(1986-02-14). Montrose Voice, No. 277, February 14, 1986 - File 007. Montrose Voice. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/4675/show/4652

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Montrose Voice, No. 277, February 14, 1986 - File 007, 1986-02-14, Montrose Voice, University of Houston Libraries, accessed July 6, 2020, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/4675/show/4652.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Montrose Voice, No. 277, February 14, 1986
Contributor
  • McClurg, Henry
  • Wyche, Linda
Publisher Community Publishing Company
Date February 14, 1986
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
  • Gay liberation movement
Place
  • Houston, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 22329406
Collection
  • University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
  • LGBT Research Collection
  • Montrose Voice
Rights In Copyright
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 007
Transcript 6 MONTROSE VOICE / FEBRUARY 14, 1986 Hospice Comforts the Terminally 111 By Pete Diamond Montrose Voice Staff Reporter You matter because you are you. You matter to the last moment of your life, and we will do all we can not only to help you die peacefully, but also to live until you die. —Cicely Saunders, founder of St. Christopher's Hospice, London Based on a premise of hope, hospices throughout Europe and the United States have committed themselves to improving the quality of life for the terminally ill. The Casa de Ninos hospice, located on Old Spanish Trail, south of the Texas Medical Center, is one of four Houston area hospices devoted to accomplishing this goal. Originally opened last October as a children's hospice, Casa de Ninos recently decided to expand their services to include terminally ill adults—including those who have AIDS. Barbara Boyette, vice president of Casa de Ninos, explained that a specialized hospice for children was "a good idea before its time." The decision to expand existing services came after administrators reexamined the hospice facility and what it had to offer, as well as the needs of the medical community. Boyett said that after talking with such individuals as Nate Sebastian of the KS/AIDS Foundation, it was apparent that persons with AIDS could benefit from much of what a hospice has to offer. The term "hospice" has its origins in the Middle Ages. During that time, people perceived life as a journey or pilgrimage and death was considered a natural part of that journey. Hospices were refuge along the path of life where people on religious pilgrimages could stop to rest, and where the sick and dying, hungry, orphaned and poor were welcomed. Hospices today still serve as "refuge," but their main focus now is aimed at providing terminally ill patients and their families with physical, emotional and spiritual support. The hospice, for many people, is an appealing alternative to dying in a nursing home or hospital. "We can provide support ... the person facing a terminal condition needs," says Gretchen Thorp, Casa de Ninos administrator. "We can help them go through the disease process and go through the feelings their loved ones are also experiencing." Thorp points out the hospice does not take a physician's patient from him or his supervison of that patient. In fact, after referring a patient to the hospice, the physician will continue his care of the patient. Physicians are also part of the hospice structure—the "interdisciplinary team" of specialists who provide support for patients and family members. With hospice patients, the physician's role changes from that of treating symptoms as a means of cure, to one of medical supervision and consultation. Hospice care does not involve the use of "heroic" measures such as dialysis, respirators or blood transfusions to prolong a person's life. Instead, pain relieving drugs and other medications are given to make patients more comfortable. Through such palliative means, the hospice aims to relieve pain and maintain the quality of the patient's life without clouding his mind. Furthermore, patients needn't fear the return of pain because control is always one step ahead of the pain. Physically, the Casa de Ninos hospice is much different from a hospital or nursing home. While some hospice programs are hospital-based, Casa de Ninos is a freestanding inpatient facility. The 60-bed hospice is actually a renovated apartment complex. Gretchen Thorp, administrator, and Barbara Boyett, vice president, are key figures behind the programs at Casa de Ninos. (Pete Diamond photo) Unlike the often sterile feeling of hospital rooms, the apartments have a "homey" atmosphere about them. Each of the 40 units are carpeted and furnished with living, dining and bedroom furniture, as well as kitchen supplies so family members who choose to stay overnight can make meals or patients can make their favorite foods whenever they choose. "Today's society is not very attuned to death and dying," Thorp says. "But the hospice environment can help patients and their families be more relaxed and more accepting of death." Most people who are facing a terminal illness would rather be in a homelike environment than a hospital, she adds. In fact, it has been shown that four out of every five people would prefer to die in their home. Boyett points out that while the hospice may be the ideal place for a terminally ill person who has nowhere else to go, it also can serve as a place where patients and family members make the transition from leaving the hospital to moving back home. In such a case, the interdisciplinary team will work with the patient and family, teaching them how to care for the patient, as well as providing other helpful information and reassurance. Family members are encouraged to help care for the patient whether or not he is at home or in the hospice inpatient facility. Clinical observations have shown that family members who are actively involved in caring for the patient while he is alive are less likely to feel guilt and self- criticism after the patient's death. Family involvement may also help ease a patient's suffering. This may range from involving the patient in an interesting activity to just listening to what he has to say. It may even be as simple as holding the person's hand. One hospice patient wrote to her doctor, "All I want to know is that there is someone who can hold my hand when I need it. Death may be routine to you, but it's new to me." Home health nurses will also visit a patient and their primary care giver in the home to provide nursing care and monitor the patient's condition. The frequency of the nurse'B visits are determined by need, but a contact is generally made weekly. If an emergency visit or advice is needed, nurses axe available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Casa de Ninos, like many other hospices, offers respite for families. This short- term service, which may last from a few hours to two weeks, allows family members to take a break in their responsi bilities for caring for the terminally ill person. Home health care is desirable for many terminally ill people because it allows them to spend the remainder of their lives at home, in comfortable, familiar surroundings, with family members nearby. However, if the family does not feel they are ready to provide fulltime care for the patient, or if they are uncomfortable with having him die in the home, Boyett said the hospice can again serve as a transition from home when the patient is in the final stages of dying. One of the keys of hospice care, according to Boyett, is treating the family in addition to the patient. Thorp agrees, adding that acute care too often focuses only on the individual patient and not the family. Both women conceded, however, that the majority of the people in the medical profession have been trained to save lives, and not to give up hope. But there are times, Thorp says, when it must be realized that nothing more can be doneto save or prolong a person's life. And that, she says, is where the hospice can come in and help improve the quality of a patient's life. Even after a person's death, the hospice will continue to serve as a refuge for the family. Through the hospice bereavement program, family members may receive spiritual and emotional support for a year or more. Besides providing these services, hospices such as Casa de Ninos also offer a number of other benefits, including unrestricted visiting hours and brief visits with pets. Because Casa de Ninos is licensed by the Texas Department of Health as a special hospital, Boyett said most insurance companies will reimburse patients for the standard semi-private room rate of $135 daily. "There are a lot of people who are in acute care hospitals that don't need to be there," Boyett says. Furthermore, she adds that the cost of hospice care can be a substantial savings over that of a hospital where daily charges may run from $250 a day to more than $400 for AIDS patients. Boyett also said the hospice has established a non-profit fund to help terminally ill individuals who have either lost their insurance benefits, or do not have insurance, pay for the cost of staying in the hospice. "We hope people are beginning to understand the needs of people who have AIDS, Boyett said. "Education has really had an impact on this, but a lot more can be done. And I think we can help." __. 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