November is National Hospice Month

With 15 years of experience caring for patients with life-limiting illnesses, I have gained valuable insights into end-of-life issues and the benefits of choosing hospice care sooner.

It’s rewarding to make the end of life a peaceful transition. Caring for terminally ill patients can be challenging for all who are involved because of complex medical issues and family dynamics. The Hosparus team works closely with the attending physician to achieve the common goal of patient comfort and helps the patient and family find comfort in what can be a chaotic and stressful situation.

While healthcare professionals and consumers alike may acknowledge that hospice care is for the last several months of life, many wait until the last few days to access care. Research conducted at Mt. Sinai shows hospice patients have lower Medicare costs, reduced use of hospital services and that hospice can improve care quality (Health Affairs 2013).

I want doctors and patients and families to know that the earlier they call, the more we can help. In addition to the expert medical care, patients who are with us longer benefit from more of the emotional and spiritual aspects of care provided by our social workers and chaplains. The entire family receives much needed support as well.

Hospice care is for patients with any life-limiting illness with a six month life expectancy if the disease follows its normal course. Hosparus cares for patients with a variety of illnesses including chronic heart failure, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, Lou Gehrig’s disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, dementia, liver disease, renal disease and cancer – anything that limits the patient’s life.

Take this time, National Hospice Month, to talk to your family or your patients about their advance care plans. Several months of support at home is better than a few days of brink of death care. Wouldn’t you agree?

If you’ve had a positive Hosparus experience, please tell someone. As always, if we can help you or someone you love, call us “24/7” at 800-264-0521.