Hospice awareness

November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month. As someone who works in the Long Term Care Industry and cares for patients with life-limiting illnesses, it breaks my heart to see the unnecessary suffering patients and families go through alone. This happens because of a lack of knowledge about the Hospice Benefit and the different hospice choices, as well as the common misconception and stigma that “Hospice” or “end-of-life care” is synonymous with “ending life”. In reality, it’s about quality of life. Research has shown that 8 out of 10 Americans would want to be cared for in their homes if facing a terminal illness; and hospice makes this possible. Hospice helps patients and their families focus on what’s most important, living life as fully as possible; comfortably, and in spite of the illness. Unfortunately, people often don’t know–until it’s too late, that help is available. Many studies have shown Hospice greatly improves the quality of care that patients with terminal illnesses receive, regardless of where they call home. Coping with a life-limiting illness is not easy. It’s about the most challenging thing a person will ever do. As the population continues to age, it is important for members of our community to become aware of the benefits available to them in their greatest time of need. The hospice team is available to patients and their families 24/7 to help shoulder this burden. They are available to provide relief every step of the way as a patient and family navigates through this important life transition as well as the maze of difficult decisions, finances, care needs, bereavement, etc. that one will encounter. In reference to her time in dealing with SouthernCare Hospice for her father’s terminal illness, a recent client states “If it wasn’t for SouthernCare, I would have been lost….” “I called…they came; anytime, day or night…” Another client’s family member stated “I always thought Hospice meant impending death, I could have never imagined how much help, support and other benefits our family has received from the Hospice team since my mom signed up a few months ago, and (that) it’s all covered under Medicare”. In fact, the earlier a patient with a qualifying illness chooses to elect for Hospice, the more benefits they will be able to make use of and improve the quality of the time they have remaining. No one person, and no family should ever have to go through the most important time of life, alone. Hospice awareness is what will make the difference. Amber Schmouder South Williamsport Submitted by Virtual Newsroom