Carol Trzcinski didn’t know much about hospice care before she needed Providence Hospice services for her mother. After an illness and rehab stay, her mother was prescribed palliative care to help relieve chronic pain.
“Medicare covered the cost of palliative care, which was a big deal,” Carol says. After a few months, her mom transitioned to hospice care, which she received for several months until she passed away.
“What I learned through that experience was how supportive the hospice team is,” she says. “Everyone seems to think hospice care is just about end of life. But it’s not. It’s about quality of life. And the sooner you get these services, the better.” Carol was grateful for the quality care her mother received, from CNAs that came to bathe her and make sure she was comfortable, to nurses who provided helpful medical care.
But Carol’s life soon became even more challenging. Shortly before her mom passed away, Carol’s husband David was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. His neurologist said he qualified for palliative care, and Carol knew what provider she would go with. Providence came to provide Palliative Care, and then later Hospice Care for David.
“It’s been a godsend,” Carol says. “Even though David can physically function well, he’s had a few falls, and he needs constant supervision and support. So this last year on hospice has been incredible, and the medical staff who come to our home to care for him have really gotten to know him well.”
One of the biggest supports Carol appreciates is the volunteer who comes in each week for an hour or so to sit with David and give respite care, allowing Carol a short break to run errands or just recharge herself. “There isn’t much that Medicare provides for people with Alzheimer’s,” Carol says. “You have to figure out how to get breaks so you have the energy to be a caregiver.”
Carol recommends that families take advantage of the opportunities to get palliative care and hospice care when it is recommended. “I can’t stress enough what a difference palliative care and hospice care have made for my family,” Carol says.