Letter to the Editor: Hospice not intended to be a last resort
November is National Hospice Month.
For more than 30 years, Hospice of the Red River Valley has been providing compassionate care to individuals and families as they navigate life’s final journey. Despite our longevity and reputation for exceptional care, year after year, one of the most common sentiments we hear is, “We wish we had known about hospice sooner.”
November is National Hospice Month, a time to learn about hospice care and celebrate this end-of-life care option.
Most people have heard about hospice, but don’t fully understand the depth of care. At the end of life, people are often encouraged to seek continuous medical treatments in an attempt to lengthen their number of days, with little focus on their quality of life. And, too often, families wait until a medical crisis before learning of this option.
Hospice care is not intended to be a last resort.
“Hospice is not brink-of-death care intended for the last days of life only,” stresses Dr. Don Schumacher, CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. “Hospice care is most effective for patients and families in the final months of life when families can take full advantage of the range of services hospice provides.”
Considered the gold standard for end of life care, hospice care is intensive comfort care for those faced with a life-limiting illness and a prognosis of six months or less. Hospice care is delivered by a team of experts and addresses an individual’s medical, emotional and spiritual needs. Additionally, the family receives grief support after a death. All care is expressly tailored to each patient and family.
The concept of hospice was founded in the belief that each of us has the right to die pain-free and with dignity, and our loved ones will receive the necessary support to allow us to do so. Day in and day out, that’s what we do.
It’s never too early to learn about hospice care.
Kevin Provost, Hospice of the Red River Valley Exec. Director