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How Hospice Works
A nurse will assess the ill person's condition and keep in close touch with the doctor. Other key staff members include the following:
At my hospice, above an old man's bed, where other residents might have placed a crucifix or a favorite family photo, hung a simple frame with a yellowed piece of paper. On the paper, still legible, was a poem. The poem had been written, the old man said, during the long days aboard his troop ship headed for the Pacific islands during WWII. He'd always wanted to put it to music, but allowed as how he "just never got around to it."
Now, he knew, he was dying.
Both the old man and the poem deserved music. But the hospice served a small rural county; no music therapist here. I copied the poem and published it on the Internet to a music discussion chatroom. "Could someone put it to music?" I asked.
Someone could. An email brought me the composed tune. I printed the music out and gave it to a singer in our local community college theater group. She and one of the pianists in the group recorded the song.
The old man died. But not before he could hear the music he had started.
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Palliative care has been defined by the World Health Organization (WHO)as "the active total care of patients whose disease is not responsive to curative treatment. Control of pain, of other symptoms, and of psychological, social and spiritual problems, is paramount.