Hospice Care Month - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Hospice Care Month

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"There is nothing more medicine can do," are heartbreaking words for patients and their families who've been diagnosed with a terminal illness and knowing end of life decisions can be overwhelming for everyone involved  Hospice Care Month  is held each November to educate and bring awareness to caregivers.  Channel 7's Alyson Courtney sat down with two families who have dealt and are dealing with a dying loved one and learn how the choices they've made have helped ease the kind of pain many of us will be faced with at some point in our lives.

Remembering gets tougher and tougher for 84-year-old Norma Bisgood.  Along with Alzheimer's, Norma's body is also being ravaged by cancer.

Her daughter, Lydia Bemberg, explains, "I have three sisters and the four of us are here 24/7 because she did a lot for us growing up and we're gonna do this for her."

Lydia and her sisters made the decision a month ago to take their mother to Little Rock's Hospice Home Care Inpatient Center.

Lydia says, "She realizes she's had a nice life and we have photo albums in the room and we pull pictures out and talk and we put on music and dance in the room with her."

They are precious final moments for Norma and her girls.

Wiping her eyes, Lydia says "She raised four daughters pretty much on her own, got us all through college…love my mom."

Glenn Ballard knows exactly what they are going through.  We sat down with him in the very room where he lived for about 9 months.

"I'm so thankful for that time, so thankful for this room, first time I've been back in here," explains Glenn.

Just over a month ago Glenn stood next to this bed with his two brothers and watched his father take his last breath.  "We got to be here," says Glenn.

Gene Ballard, a veteran who loved baseball and fishing had hardly ever been sick.

Glenn explains, "He was wanting to take care of mom, wanting to take care of us..."

That was Gene - always helping others, but after being diagnosed with terminal liver cancer at the beginning of this year everything changed.

Gene says, "The physicians say it usually runs a course of about six months so then we were preparing ourselves for how to deal with dad dying."

 After researching Hospice, Glenn knew this was where his father needed to be.

 "This became home," says Glenn.  "And that was comforting to us but it was also comforting to him.

Glenn says it was the staff at Hospice who helped his dad and the entire family learn to cope.

Executive Medical Director, Dr. Theresa Travis, says, "Death is not so much an event for us as it is a process."

Travis runs the state of the art inpatient facility and says her job is truly a calling from God.

Travis explains, "To help someone…the privilege of helping someone be born into eternity and helping someone get there as peacefully and suffering as little as is possible, as far as where they're at especially spiritually and emotionally, is an incredible privilege.

"So much respect for the people who can do this with grace and with loving care," expressed Glenn.

The staff here says that's what this hard to even talk about process is all about - providing compassion and dignity in the midst of heartache and pain.

Lydia says of her mother, "The best thing about it is she's become familiar with the staff and every time I walk in the room they say "Honey", "Sweety", ya know.

As fall turns into winter and their time together winds down, Lydia realizes that instead of coming here to die, Hospice has provided a place for her mother to come and live.

"It's been a very peaceful experience," says Lydia.

Dr. Travis tells us studies have recently shown that people in Hospice care live longer after being diagnosed with a terminal illness than patients who do not use Hospice care.

To find out more about the facility or other services provided by Hospice Home Care in Arkansas, you can log onto http://hospicehomecare.com/

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