ResolutionCare’s Director of Spiritual Support Services, Carl Magruder, recently debuted his new blog: Grace Notes, A Chaplain’s Blog. What follows is an excerpt from his first post.
Hospice and the Type One Error
In Permaculture design, a Type One Error is an error which is so essentially wrong that no amount of time, energy, effort, or creative genius can completely overcome it. The only way to really beat a Type One Error is to start over. There is a Type One Error in how we do Medicare hospice care in the United States of America. The error is that hospice is a specialized healthcare ghetto outside of medicine’s bustling shiny downtown.
In broad strokes, what happened was that when hospice came to the States, it was such a good idea–such a basic, natural, obvious, low-tech response to terminal illness–that the established healthcare system couldn’t grok it. In second-wave feminist terms, it was a feminine response—creating a safe, supportive space for a natural process; life completion and dying. The dominant paradigm in western medicine is still masculine—to do, to cut, medicate, analyze, atomize, and generally “science the shit out of this.” (Yes, “science” IS a verb.)
So, hospice grew up as a largely volunteer enterprise, composed overwhelmingy of women health care workers, and took compassionate care of the dying. The AIDS epidemic hit, and hospice stepped up while much of the rest of healthcare was still wringing its latex-clad hands. Coming into the field of end of life care three plus decades later, as I have, sometimes feels a lot like coming to the party after the beer has run out and the cool kids have gone home. In the early days, hospice was a movement. Now it’s a business. …
Read the rest of Carl’s piece on Hospice at Grace Notes.