One-on-One with Matt
Q:What was the motivating factor that made you contact Hospice of Palm Beach County?
A:My dad, Jay Lauer, was a resident of Palm Beach County for many years. He moved there after he retired, but unfortunately at the age of 73 he became seriously ill. He developed lung cancer. He was in and out of hospitals until it became apparent that this was not a battle he was going to win. My father made it very clear that he wanted to be home and he wanted to live his remaining days with as much dignity as possible. That’s when we got in touch with Hospice of Palm Beach County. I feel that it’s important to call hospice services early. They make an immediate difference.
Q: Many people have their mind already made up about what hospice care is; can you share with us your first impressions of hospice services?
A:If you had come up to me twelve years ago and asked me to explain what Hospice was all about, I probably would have said something like ‘it deals with death and I really don’t want to talk about it.’ So, hospice for me meant a bleak and desperate time. Unfortunately, too many people still feel that way about hospice and I’m doing everything in my power to change that.
Q: It’s probably safe to say that your original impression has changed, correct?
A:My impression has changed dramatically. Hospice of Palm Beach County cared for my dad night and day – no questions asked, they were committed. They were there for my father and the rest of the family whenever they were needed. They fed my dad, they washed him, they gave him his medication, and sometimes they just joined us in simply holding his hand. In short, they were his and our support system. Hospice care made it so much more comfortable for my father and my family. I wish we called them sooner. I wish I was more aware of what hospice could do for my father and my family. That’s why I’m spreading the word.
Q: What are your thoughts on early admission into the hospice program?
A:My first thought is that a family should contact Hospice of Palm Beach County or another hospice facility around the country sooner rather than later. You don’t have to wait. Hospice is geared toward immediately caring for and comforting the patient and family. When people are in a time of need, when they are facing a long battle, there are so many questions and they are experiencing so many emotions, and they really need to speak with someone. The Hospice representatives can provide them with the answers to their questions and the services they need. They will set up a team of professionals that will be there for them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So make the phone call; it’s worth it.
Q:Was there one thing that really made an impact on you while dealing with Hospice of Palm Beach County?
A: Well, there were many things that impressed me – all the services they offer the patient and family, from bereavement services to around the clock aid – but one thing that did impact me was that these people, the reps at Hospice of Palm Beach County, were, at first, total strangers, and yet they gave my father and my family their total commitment. They gave us their love and compassion, from day one. I can’t praise them enough for their kindness. The hospice workers became so much more than medical assistants. They actually became friends and even part of our family.
Q: There are hospice facilities all over the nation, have you considered going nation-wide with your hospice efforts?
A:Yes, I have thought about it, but I really want to commit myself to this community. I want to raise funds and raise awareness so families feel comfortable and confident when reaching out to Hospice of Palm Beach County. Hospice care is a good thing, believe me. That’s why it’s so important to me. I want other people to receive the love and care that my father and my family received.
Mr. Lauer is the honorary chairperson and participant in the Celebrity Pro-Am Golf Tournament held in November at The Breakers Rees Jones Golf Course, to support patient care programs of Hospice of Palm Beach County. For information contact Lauryn Barry (561) 494-6884.