Liz Keimig was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1996 after going to the doctor with symptoms of heaviness and pain in her abdomin.  Soon after she was sent to Iowa City for a risky surgery that would include a tough recovery.  After surgery, doctors gave Liz 6-12 months to live and recommended she utilize the hospice services available to her in the Quad Cities.  After returning home from the hospital, Liz contacted Beacon of Hope and began her journey with hospice care.

“When my nurse visited she really took care of me.  She would do my hair, help out with whatever I needed around the house, or just sit and chat.  She really made me feel good about myself. The comfort of sitting with me for a cup of coffee meant so much.”

About three months later Liz went back to Iowa City for a check-up.  To her surprise, the doctor was unable to find anything and hospice could no longer be recommended.  Liz, a retired teacher, could not believe it – she had flunked hospice!

“My memories of hospice are only great ones.  I could not be more thankful for all of the services Beacon of Hope provided during my time of need.  They offered both pyschologicial and emotional support for both myself and the members of my family that wanted it.  They helped me heal in more ways than one.”

What everyone should know about hospice:

Liz Keimig, Gilda’s Club Member and Sally Hogue, Beacon of Hope Hospice

According to Sally Hogue, Professional Service Representative at Beacon of Hope Hospice, many myths and misconceptions of hospice still exist. Here is what she has to say about some comments in the community regarding hospice:

Misconception: It’s all downhill after I’m on hospice.
Reality: Electing the hospice benefit does not expedite the disease process. Through medication management, better nutrition, trained professional visits, and improved family communications, individuals often improve.

Misconception: I can’t afford hospice services.
Reality:  There is no charge for hospice services.  For many, getting medications, medical equipment, and incontinence supplies through hospice saves money; however the hospice benefit will not cover room and board. Hospice care is covered by Medicar, Medicaid, Private Insurance, Long-Term & Home-Care Policies, or Private Pay.  Most hospice agencies have charity care provided by United Way or memorial funds for those with no payer source.  No one is ever denied hospice due to lack of funds.

Misconception: My mother gets good care in the nursing home so we don’t need hospice.
Reality: Nursuing homes and hospices partner extremely well with end of life care.  Hospice brings in extra help and is another set of eyes and ears for the facility. Hospice nurses are highly trained in pain managment and with two teams working side by side the resident wins.

Two things are needed to attain hospice:

1.  You have to want it
2.  You must be eligible which requires a physician order and meeting the criteria of a specific disease or diagnosis.

“Of all the myths and misconceptions I have heard, I have never heard someone say, ‘I wish I would have known about hospice later.'”

Click here to read the full article, “I Wish I Would Have Known…” by Sally Hogue in the November issue of Healthy Cells Magazine. 

Special thanks to Liz and the Beacon of Hope staff for sharing their experiences and knowledge about hospice care with the members of Gilda’s Club.