Sen. Al Franken: Home Care and Hospice “Is About Giving People a Good Life”
United States Senator Al Franken (D-MN) spoke at the National Association for Home Care & Hospice’s (NAHC) March on Washington Senate Breakfast. He was introduced by NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris, who recalled Sen. Franken’s last speech at the Senate Breakfast a few years ago when he told a moving story about the hospice services that his father received. “I will never forget it,” Halamandaris said. “You get us to think more broadly about the problems of the world and understand that, if we all work on them together, they can get a lot better. You are a wonderful role model for young kids out there looking for what they ought to do with their lives. We celebrate you because of your advocacy on behalf of the aged, ill, and infirm.”
Sen. Franken re-emphasized his family’s positive experience with hospice, which allowed his father to remain at home with the family in his final days. “That was the difference between [the care he received at home] and being in the hospital. So I just want to say thank you for that; thank all of you for that, because I know you do that every day of your lives.”
“What you do is about giving people a good life,” Sen. Franken said, referencing the writing of Atul Gawande. “It’s not about a good death; it’s a good life.”
Sen. Franken articulated the gift that is home care in recalling his visit in 2008 to the home of a family that had adopted children with serious disabilities. The children received care from three home care workers. “I remember one little boy who was, I think, a little less than two, and his life was – he was severely, severely disabled; he really couldn’t talk and I don’t know how well he could hear,” Sen. Franken said. “And he was happy.”
“I just want to say thank you for the work that you do every day, on behalf of my family, and on behalf of every family who has had your care,” he said, in closing.