Hospice patient: "There's no need to be scared of hospice services. Just do it."
When Deb Slayton was diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, she had one wish: She wanted to continue to live her life in her home. "I wanted to do what I wanted, when I wanted to do it, and I wanted the things around me that I enjoyed," she said.
She was thrilled when Julie Swett, Director of Home Health and Hospice for WesleyLife, assured her she could do just that. Deb was already a WesleyLife Home Health client, and switching her over to hospice care not only was seamless, but made a number of additional services available to her.
"Being on hospice care changed my life," Deb said. "People think it's this big, scary thing, but it's been wonderful for me. I'll never have to leave my home."
Deb said she most enjoys her time with Julie, who stops by once a week to help manage Deb's medical needs. But she also enjoys weekly visits from a hospice aide, a social worker, and a massage therapist. Her medical insurance covers all those services.
"I'm at the point where I can't do as much for myself as I want to," Deb, who was diagnosed with cancer last year, said. "I thought I was just going to have to adjust my life and not do those things anymore. And I was ready for that. But it's nice not to have to."
Julie said although many patients are reluctant to accept hospice services because of the stigma involved, most, like Deb, experience a better quality of life once they become part of hospice.
"If Deb had remained a Home Health client, her insurance wouldn't have picked up nearly as much, and she'd probably be without some services that are really helping her today," Julie said. She added when Deb was moved to hospice care, insurance began picking up the tab for such items as IV medications and equipment, as well as adaptive equipment to help Deb function independently in her apartment.
"She was stunned that not only would her care become more comprehensive, but that so much more of it would be covered," Julie said. "For Deb and for the great majority of our patients, hospice services make so many different parts of life easier."
Deb said in addition to benefiting physically from the care she receives, her emotions also get a boost. "The WesleyLife people give me something to look forward to," she said.
"They always have smiles on their faces and make me feel better about how things are going," Deb said. "If there's one thing I could tell everyone who's scared of hospice, it would be: There's no need to be scared. Just do it. You'll be so glad you did."
WesleyLife offers a broad array of services designed to help people remain independent at home, including home health, personal services, meal delivery, transportation, Adult Day services, hospice, and public-health nursing. Many are paid for by insurance, or are available on a sliding-fee scale. To learn more, call (515) 978-2777.