Washington Regional Hospice Observes National Hospice Month
November Proclaimed Hospice and Palliative Care Month in Fayetteville
(Fayetteville) – November was recently declared Hospice & Palliative Care Month in Fayetteville. In an official proclamation ceremony held earlier this month, Mayor Dan Coody presented the formal proclamation document to members of the Washington Regional Hospice Board of Directors, Hospice staff, and Washington Regional Foundation.
Throughout the month of November, hospice professionals and volunteers focus their efforts on raising awareness of this invaluable system of care. Those who provide hospice care offer pain and symptom control, dignity, and spiritual and emotional care for both dying persons and their loved ones when a cure is not possible. Hospice care puts a “face” on quality end-of-life care--the faces of nurses, doctors, social workers, spiritual caregivers, homecare aides and volunteers who provide services and support to families during one of life’s most challenging times.
“Dealing with difficult and challenging situations is a part of life,” states Paula Hartz, Director of Washington Regional Hospice (WRH). “All too often when recalling end-of-life situations of those we love, many of us have sad recollections, including the hurt on the face of a loved one in pain; the sorrow on the face of a family member who did not get the opportunity to say goodbye to a dying relative; or the stress on the faces of those making difficult decisions about end-of-life choices without guidance or support.”
National surveys report that America’s hospice programs served more than 1.2 million people last year. Yet for every person that received hospice care, it is estimated that another individual would have benefited from the services of hospice but didn’t get this compassionate care at the end of their lives.
“Hospice is not a place or a building, it is a special kind of care focusing on relief of pain, symptom control, and spiritual and emotional support,” continues Hartz. “Our care goes out to the patient and family caregivers, and the majority of care takes place in the home, where the person can be surrounded by family and familiar settings. Inpatient services are available if symptoms cannot be properly attended to at home.”
A professional and compassionate staff at WRH, including physicians, nurses, social workers, therapists, counselors, health aides, volunteers, and clergy, provide comprehensive care focused on the wishes of each individual patient.
Facts about hospice care that everyone, healthcare professionals and consumers alike, should understand include:
1. More people choose hospice and palliative care each year. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization reports that there are more than 4,000 hospice programs in the United States, and these programs cared for more than 1.2 million people last year.
2. For twenty-five years, hospice has been a fully covered benefit under Medicare. Hospice is also covered by Medicaid, most private insurance plans, HMOs and other managed care organizations.
3. Hospice and palliative care can take place in a variety of settings, including private homes, hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
4. Approximately 400,000 hospice volunteers contribute more than 18 million hours per year.
5. Hospice and palliative care is an option for those with illnesses other than cancer, including HIV/AIDS and dementia.
6. Professionally trained staffs help to facilitate communication between family members about advance care planning, end-of-life wishes and decision-making.
7. Studies have shown that hospice and palliative care directly addresses the concerns that many people have about dying, which include being in pain and being a burden on family.
8. The majority of families whose loved one was cared for by hospice overwhelmingly support their decision to choose hospice care; the most common statement heard is, “we wish we had chosen hospice sooner.”
“As hospice and palliative care providers, we encourage all people to learn more about options of care and to share their wishes with family, loved ones, and their healthcare professionals,” states Hartz. “At WRH, we know that providing high-quality hospice and palliative care reaffirms our belief in the essential dignity of every person, regardless of age, health, or social status, and that every stage of human life deserves to be treated with the utmost respect and care.”