Many people freak out when they hear the word Hospice.  Most people when they even hear the word Hospice immediately think:  “Someone’s dying”.  I think we as a society have embraced what someone has called “the American Immortal”…..in other words, we cannot embrace the fact that we are “mortal”…that all of us at some point will have our life end (depending on one’s spiritual or lack of spiritual belief…life on this earth, in this realm, or however you choose to think about it…Life as we know it here on earth will one day end.)   To understand Hospice, it begins with understanding and accepting one’s mortality.  As Ben Franklin said….death is one of life’s two certainties (the other of course is taxes).  For those who share a Christian belief, we should understand this principle better than some others (other belief systems have similar attitudes toward death).  In short, when your doctor determines you have an illness or condition that will shorten your life “expectancy” to less than a year, it is time to begin asking about Hospice.  Everyone should follow a treatment strategy you are comfortable with….but make sure you ask about the “quality of life” (this means something different to each person), side affects, expectation of longer life, etc.  Before that moment, think about what “quality of life” looks like for you.  Hospice Care can actually help a person enjoy the time they have left to the fullest, without having to endure treatment after treatment, doctor visit after doctor visit (if that is your choice).  When it is time, Ask for Hospice.  You will be glad you did.