FACT: The doctor has to determine that the patient, is probably going to die within the next six months. For the patients who do better than how the doctor predicted, the hospice services
are still eligible for pay by medicare.
(Boughton Barbara. Facing the Future: Planning for a Good Death. Cure: spring 2003; pp. 52)
One of the Native men in the NACR Survivors' Support Network was having many problems. The Western medical doctors talked with the man and his family and told him he was not likely to live more than 6 months. The patient wanted to remain
at home. With the help of the doctor and the family, hospice services were started and provided in the home. The Native man and his family had the Traditional Indian Healer come several times each week and pray and do some ceremonies to
prepare for passing and to relieve some discomfort. The patient started to feel better and wanted to work on some of his leather crafts. Then he wanted to get up and walk around the village. Gradually, he returned to his normal way of
living. The hospice nurse reduced her visits to once or twice a month to check that he has his medications and to see how he is doing. It has been more than 5 years now (2007) and he is still doing well. Because he was eligible for and
started hospice, Medicare continues to pay for his nursing visits and his medication. They also still pay for his special bed that helps him get in and out of bed. The Western doctor visits with the patient and has also met and visited
with the Traditional Indian Healers. The doctor says these visits always make him (1) feel happy for the patient and family, (2) feel humble and thankful, and (3) more open to other forms of healing. He has great respect for combining
Western medicine with Traditional healing.
Story told by Linda B, 2007 with permission and based on long-term relationship with the patient and family