National Healthcare Decisions Day: choosing comfort

The family of Barbara Bush went public with a very private decision Sunday when they announced the former first lady will no longer seek aggressive treatments, but instead opted for “comfort care.”

At 92 years old, Bush has suffered from COPD and congestive heart failure for around two years, according to news reports. After a recent series of hospital stays, she decided it was time to take a different route.

It’s important to note, Mrs. Bush did not give up treatment. She elected a different kind of treatment. She chose a different path – one that focuses on quality of life, not cures.

The family’s decision to make such an announcement is significant. It does not signify hopelessness. It speaks to their belief in a new kind of hope for their matriarch – hope for a better life in the time she has left. They hope for more memories, more love, and more enjoyment of the coming days with their mother and grandmother.

Isn’t that what most people want? When you picture the end of your life, do you picture struggles in and out of the hospital? Or does your picture encompass taking control of your own care, spending more time with those you love most, enjoying life to the fullest and making memories friends and family can hold onto after you’re gone? Which do you think would most benefit your loved ones in the long run?

The announcement hit the news cycles Monday morning, which also happens to be National Healthcare Decisions Day. We don’t know the circumstances behind the decision Mrs. Bush and her family made regarding her care. We hope it wasn’t a last-minute struggle. We hope she and her family had this discussion years ago.

Don’t put off such important decisions as your end-of-life care or that of a loved one until moments of crisis – when the physical and emotional toll of illness is at an all-time high. Make them early, when you have time to really think clearly and plan thoroughly. Death is not an easy subject to broach in your own mind, much less in conversations with your loved ones, but help is available. To learn practical tips on end-of-life care decisions and how to start the conversations with your loved ones and doctor, visit the National Healthcare Decisions Day website,

Making wishes come true

Most people have made a wish, but the wish of a someone with a terminal illness is significant because it could be their last.
The Shepherd’s Cove Foundation supports Shepherd’s Cove Hospice and the Palliative and Supportive Care Alliance (PSCA). Both organizations provide comfort care for patients with a terminal illness, focusing on adding as much life to their final days as possible. One way is by helping patients fulfill final wishes.

A special trip

As Danetta Valenzuela, a patient of the Palliative and Supportive Care Alliance, faces the realities of renal failure, she wants her children to know there is more to life than sickness. She wanted to make some positive, lasting memories with her family on a weekend adventure to Chattanooga, Tenn. The Shepherd’s Cove Foundation launched an online campaign in April to raise money for the trip. Through the support of 15 generous, local donors and numerous others who shared Danetta’s story, we reached our goal! Because of the outpouring of community support, Danetta’s wish became reality.


A gift from the Tide
The smile on LaMont Combs’ face was priceless as he turned the football over in his hands to see a personalized autograph from legendary football coach Nick Saban.
LaMont is one of the Alabama Crimson Tide’s biggest fans and a patient of Shepherd’s Cove Hospice. On June 27, he received a special gift from SCH and the Dream Foundation – a special box containing several goodies including the football and a photo autographed by Saban. He also recieved a personal phone call from the Tide’s starting center Brad Bozeman.

You can be a ray of light and hope to someone facing the realities of a terminal illness. Visit our homepage or call 256-891-7724 to find out how you can partner with the Shepherd’s Cove Foundation to fulfill a patient’s last wish.

Check out the rest of our newsletter below to learn more about what is happening at Shepherd’s Cove Hospice and how you can join our mission “to provide, with a servant’s heart, exceptional individualized care for those coping with end-of-life issues.”

Summer 2017 Newsletter