Reflecting on hospice care following Barbara Bush's failing health announcement

Reflecting on hospice care following Barbara Bush's failing health announcement. (MGN)

In the wake of former First Lady Barbara Bush announcing she won’t continue treatment for her health issues, end-of-life care and treatment has been brought to the forefront for those in Palm Beach County.

Dr. Faustino Gonzalez sees this everyday through his work as the Chief Medical Officer at Trustbridge, an end of life facility in Palm Beach County. However, he only recently experienced the painful heartache of losing a loved one himself.

Dr. Gonzalez said it seems like only yesterday when he lost his mother-in-law, Juana. Juana lived with he and his wife, and helped take care of his family for more than thirty years. “I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much,” he shared, “My mother-in-law to me was like a second mother.”

Towards the end of her life, Juana was in and out hospital on a regular basis. That’s when the Gonzalez family had to make a decision: continue seeking treatment until the next hospital stay, or face the inevitable. The family ultimately chose hospice care, which allowed them to give her the love she really needed.

“We had family get-togethers and celebrated her life,” said Gonzalez, “we just spent a painful but beautiful week at her bedside until she left.”

Two years later, Gonzalez says he still thinks of her regularly. He shared, “I miss her! I really do. I make coffee in the morning just so my house can smell the same way every morning because she made the coffee.”

Fortunately, hospice care gave the Gonzalez family the closure they needed to reflect and smile at their memories with Juana.

Dr. Gonzalez said the most important part of the decision is talking with the potential patient and family members to make sure hospice care is the best alternative. Once that’s decided, a consultation with the patient’s Doctor and facility should happen.

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