Small Acts of Kindness: Hospice and Hospital Care

Thomas and HarperBy Jennifer Hallmark

We needed help. My stepdad was struggling and Hospice provided a way to care for him at home and even in the hospital. This service began around November 1st and stayed close until his passing on January 20th.

Hospice care is a type of care and philosophy of care that focuses on the palliation of a chronically ill, terminally ill or seriously ill patient’s pain and symptoms, and attending to their emotional and spiritual needs.

HCA Hospice Care Logo (2012)To me, Hospice is a big act of kindness. During this time, we were the recipient of many small acts of kindness also. I’ve given this some thought and want to share a list of items and services that would help if you know someone who is under hospice or hospital care, a caregiver or helping a caregiver…

For an individual under hospice care and their family

  • Visits and phone calls. When you’re confined to home, a visit or phone call is like a breath of fresh air. Even better is a long visit where you offer to stay with the patient while the caregiver shops, goes to the doctor, or just gets away for a few moments.
  • Meals. Caregivers tend to be exhausted from the constant care a hospice patient needs. Always check and see what the patient can or can’t eat and cook or buy accordingly.
  • Greeting cards and emails. My stepdad loved getting physical mail from people. Not so much “get well” cards but those cards that expressed “thinking about you” or encouragement. Homemade cards from the children or grandchildren or school or church class are enjoyed also.
  • Gifts. The best gifts were the ones where people asked what we needed and then provided them. Some I remember are an electronic Bible that read out loud, pajamas, puzzle books, certain food items or snacks, and magazines.IMG_20160217_094918629

When the patient is in the hospital.

  • All of the above. Visits where you can stay with the patient are especially helpful so the caregiver can go eat or to the store without feeling stressed. Before bringing food, check on the patient’s dietary needs.

One thing people asked us during this time was “How can we help?” Beside the above ways, I’ll list items you can purchase that are useful during this time.

  • Restaurant gift cards.IMG_20160217_094952009
  • Gas gift cards. (so much back and forth driving)
  • Walmart gift cards.
  • Fruit or healthy snacks. (to keep at hospital)
  • Magazines, puzzle books, or books.
  • Small blankets or throws.
  • Mints, gum, or hard candy.
  • Phone charger (we had to go out and buy one)
  • Change for the drink and snack machines.

So when someone is under hospice care or in the hospital, you can make a difference. A show of concern can brighten the day of someone going through stress-filled times. Prayer was always welcomed and we loved it when people took time to ask, “What do you specifically need? I’ll bring it.”

Your small act of kindness can shine big in someone’s life today. Be the difference…

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2 thoughts on “Small Acts of Kindness: Hospice and Hospital Care

  1. Thanks for sharing, Jennifer. I completely agree about Hospice.My dad had them also when he had cancer and passed away in ’95. They were so compassionate and helpful, which made it so much better on the family. They are truly the hands and hearts of Jesus.

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