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Palliative Care Month is here

By Staff | Nov 19, 2010

November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month – no better a time to encourage people to call hospice for themselves or a loved one who is living with a serious, life-limiting illness.

So many people miss out on this caring, cost-saving service because of the erroneous idea that calling hospice means they are giving up. I have worked for Hospice of the Panhandle for 22 years, and I want to assure all that we have never given up on any person. Our goal, in fact, is to help people live longer and better, even though the disease of which they are suffering is not improving.

At this point in time about 32 percent of all the people who die in the Eastern Panhandle die with hospice. That tells us that about 68 percent never have the holistic care from the compassionate team of end-of-life specialists and volunteers. They never reap the financial benefits of having medicines, medical equipment and medical supplies provided, nor do they have the help of a nurse and other staff members any time of the day or night. What that also tells us is that 70 percent of the people who die in our community die without hospice.

Even more discouraging is the fact that of the 32 percent who have chosen hospice, about one-third of them receives just two weeks of hospice care or less.

I write this letter to encourage people to celebrate National Hospice and Palliative Care Month by taking the time to call hospice about someone you know and call today.

Hospice of the Panhandle provides free informational visits and there is absolutely no obligation to enroll. It may not even be time yet for hospice. But by contacting hospice early, the patient will have the chance to enjoy the benefits of hospice before it is too late for those benefits to make a real difference.