Patient Visit: Receiving Hospice for Almost a Year

stav September 10th, 2013, 8:00 AM
Stav Birnbaum
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stroke_careNew Yorkers seem to resist hospice. Only 18% of New York City residents take advantage of hospice services, compared to 22% in New York State and 40% in the United States. It’s hard for anyone – doctors included – to have the end-of-life discussion. Doctors need to determine that a patient has less than six  months to live in order for hospice services to be available.

For Gerry, hospice has not been an end; it has been part of his life for over a year. After a debilitating stroke, Gerry declined to the point of getting hospice care. In an impeccable apartment in Hamilton Heights, Gerry lives with his wife Blanche and a full-time home health aide.

Dahlia came this day because the home health aide found an abrasion on his leg. His skin is so thin, it’s like paper, and any cut can cause not only discomfort but a deadly infection.

stroke_care2Dahlia has a special place in her heart for Gerry. He reminds her of her own father, and she loves to visit him. She took care of the leg, talked about how he’s sleeping, what he’s eating, and what supplies they needed to order for the week.

Gerry does not respond too much, but for Dahlia, he still smiles.


  • [...] Read more about my day visiting hospice patients at Patient Visit: Receiving Hospice for Almost a Year [...]

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