Is Hospice Care the Right Choice for Someone of the Jewish Faith?
Hospice is a religious experience for many patients and their families. Those of the Jewish faith, however, may wonder if hospice is supported by their religious traditions. While patients in hospice care are physically and emotionally prepared in accordance to their religious beliefs for the natural end of life process, one might ask: Is hospice care the right choice for someone of the Jewish faith?
Hospice Care and the Jewish Tradition
The Jewish religion believes death should not be hurried along, nor delayed. Hebrew Scriptures states, “A season is set for everything, a time for every purpose under Heaven: a time to be born and a time for dying.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2). During hospice care, the dying process is neither prolonged nor made to end any quicker than what the body has naturally prepared for. Patients in a hospice program have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and are surrounded by highly trained doctors and nurses. Patients will take medicine to reduce pain and anxiety and to ease breathing. Hospice as a practice is all about making the patient more comfortable during the natural dying process.
The Jewish tradition recognizes mourning in various stages from Shiva and Shloshim to Yizkor and Yahrzeit. Hospice Atlanta also recognizes these practices and appreciates their meaning to people of Jewish faith. In addition to these stages of mourning, Hospice Atlanta offers bereavement support for families of loved ones for an entire year after their loved one’s passing. Hospice Atlanta provides Rabbi Chaplains upon request for visitation and questions about the ways the Jewish tradition fits into hospice care.
Tikvah, or hope, is meaningful to Jewish traditions and for some, entering hospice care can mean the patient and his or her family has given up hope. Hospice care reframes the mindset of hope by giving patients and their families the relief of pain, emotional and spiritual suffering and reconciliation upon the reflection of a patient’s life. Hope in hospice care means to share memories and values with those most important to the patient in their quest to find shalom, or peace.
Hospice Atlanta works with families of all backgrounds and religions. Please call 404-869-3000 to be connected with a Chaplain who can answer questions about your specific faith and traditions.