Hospice – the Ultimate Dream Manager

Back in 2009, I was working as a Bereavement Counselor in the Northwest ‘burbs of Chicago.  I was introduced to a book by Matthew Kelly called The Dream Manager.  by a client.  Her company was actually putting the concepts in the book into action!  She passed the book on to me.  I read it and passed it on, as well.

The Dream Manager offers ideas for executives to attract, nurture, engage and motivate employees.  Kelly writes that ” a company’s purpose is to become its best version of itself” while “a person’s purpose is to become the best version of himself or herself.”

I got to thinking…. We do this everyday, here in hospice.  We help folks live their best version of themselves, everyday. This is precisely why hospice is the ULTIMATE DREAM MANAGER.  The context is clearly different: company & employee in the book ⇢⇢⇢ end-of-life care & patient/family.  The goal is similar: LIVING and being our best self.  Yes! Living life to our fullest, what ever that may mean.

Hospice teams inquire about these goals all the time…  What are your goals?  How do you want to live?  Are there things you want to do?  The answers to that are vastly different and so uniquely individual.  It’s amazing the living that happens when comfort is achieved, symptoms are managed and the body isn’t fighting with the progressing illness.  That fight with pain is actually quite exhausting not only physically, but also mentally, spiritually, emotionally and impacts our interactions with others.

Most are familiar with Make-A-Wish Foundation.  We see or hear stories about baseball games, meeting celebrities or Disney trips.  There is a foundation to make these elaborate wishes come to fruition.

Now hospice isn’t paying for wishes to be realized…  however, hospice organizations have teams of doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains, counselors, music/art/massage therapists to help patients and families live their best life as best they can.

Consider this… the fisherman who wants to sit on a pier, fishing, and enjoying the outdoors… the artist who wants to enjoy the smells, textures and feels of all sorts of art materials or talk about the great works… or the chef who wants to continue to cook for their family.  These may seem like simple wishes.  For someone living with a progressive illness, this may seem out of reach when living with pain or significant symptoms that impair life satisfaction.

Hospices even work together to make these dreams become reality… Imagine the hospice patient that would like to visit their winter home for a trip.  One hospice will coordinate with another to maintain a continuity of care and may even coordinate with airlines for the best transportation experience as possible.  It’s amazing!  Two completely different companies working for the benefit of one patient and family.

Each person’s dreams can be grand or quite simple. I’ve personally been part of those teams to help patients.  I helped a teen to make gifts for her family that were given at her celebration of life.  I’ve seen weddings at hospice homes or baptisms of babies.  I’ve seen gardeners have their best view of landscaping and their favorite plants surrounding them.  Maybe, it’s simply having the energy to a talk on the phone with an old friend.

I could go on and on regarding the stories… Hospice is absolutely remarkable in their natural focus on living!

What’s your experience with hospice being the Ultimate Dream Manager?