November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month and hospices across the country are reaching out to raise awareness about the highest quality care for all people coping with life-limiting illness. Here locally, Covenant Care will be conducting a social media campaign called “Hospice Is.” Covenant staff, volunteers and community members will be asked to complete that sentence, sharing what hospice means to them personally. Posters and responses will be shared on social media throughout the month.
More than 50 years after the creation of the modern hospice movement by Dame Cicely Saunders, hospice care continues to be a mystery to most Americans. The word ‘hospice’ is often whispered over the bedside of the terminally ill, or discussed out of ear shot by concerned and stressed family members. The question remains: why? Once family members experience hospice care, the most frequent comment and feedback received by hospice organizations is, “I wish we knew about hospice sooner”.
Hospice care does not have to be a mystery anymore; in fact, according to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) an estimated 1.6 million patients receive service from hospice each year. Considered the model for quality compassionate care for people facing a life-limiting illness, hospice provides expert medical care, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support expressly tailored to the patient’s needs and wishes. Support is provided to the patient’s loved ones as well.
Hospice and palliative care combines the highest level of quality medical care with the emotional and spiritual support that families need most when facing the end of life. Through this specialized quality care, we see many patients and their families experience more meaningful moments together. Hospice helps them focus on living despite a terminal diagnoses.
Hospice can mean different things to different people, and that is why Covenant Care has launched its “Hospice Is” campaign. As Betty Flynn, a Covenant Care volunteer noted, “Hospice is caring for someone like you would want your family taken care of.”