An Early Referral To Hospice Can Make A Big Difference

By Mary Lou

As I was checking out at a local retail store last week, the clerk noticed my Hospice nametag. She commented that her daughter would probably be calling us in the near future because her husband (the clerk’s son-in-law) was very ill. They had recently returned from the University of Minnesota where they were told that nothing more could be done for his advancing cancer.

She continued to tell me that her son-in-law was in a bed or a wheelchair most of the day, was unable to be left alone, and that her daughter was simply exhausted from all the care her husband needed. She was able to manage during the summer, but since she is a teacher, the new school year was posing additional challenges. They also have two very active daughters.

I asked her if I could share some information with her. She was agreeable, so I went back to my car and grabbed a brochure about our services. We stood out of the check-out traffic and as I gave her the information along with my business card, I mentioned that one of the things we hear from families most often is, “We wish we would have called you sooner”. I said it sounded as though her daughter could use help, and that there was no obligation to have someone from Hospice of the Red River Valley come out and explain the kind of help we could provide.

I encouraged her to go to our website for more information that she could even print off and bring to her daughter. I said there were stories on the website of families who had been in the same situation as her daughter and found they greatly benefited from that early phone call.

Calling Hospice of the Red River Valley, or any hospice for that matter, is a hard and courageous thing to do. If you have made that call, maybe you can share what that meant to you and your family, and give others the encouragement to call “sooner rather than later.”

About Hospice of the Red River Valley
Hospice of the Red River Valley is an independent, not-for-profit hospice serving all, or portions of, 29 counties in North Dakota and Minnesota. Hospice care is intensive comfort care that alleviates pain and suffering, enhancing the quality of life for patients with life-limiting illnesses and their loved ones by addressing their medical, emotional, spiritual and grief needs. For more information, call toll free 800-237-4629, email or visit