Editor, November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, and I encourage everyone to increase their understanding and awareness of care at the end of life.
As CEO of the Coastal Empire’s original community-based hospice, it is my hope that all people facing a serious or life-limiting illness can live as fully as possible, surrounded and supported by family and loved ones. Hospice providers are dedicated to helping diverse communities access quality end-of-life care delivered by an interdisciplinary team of skilled professionals that includes physicians, nurses, social workers, therapists, counselors, health aides, spiritual-care providers and others who make the wishes of each patient and family a priority.
Through pain management and symptom control, caregiver training and assistance, and emotional and spiritual support, hospice and palliative care allows patients to live fully and make more meaningful moments until the end, surrounded and supported by the faces of loved ones, friends and committed caregivers. Each year, hospice saves Medicare more than $2 billion by providing care to patients and comfort to families anywhere, at any time:
• Hospice care is usually provided in the home — wherever the patient calls home.
• Hospice cares for people with any kind of life-limiting illness.
• Hospice is usually covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private plans.
• Hospice is not limited to six months of care.
• Hospice is not “giving up”; rather the focus is on caring, not curing.
• Anyone can contact hospice and find out if it is the right option.
You can learn more about hospice and see real stories of patients and families, showing all that hospice can do to make more meaningful moments possible at the National Hospice and Palliative Care’s site www.MomentsofLife.org, or you can find out more about Hospice Savannah specifically at www.HospiceSavannah.org. Be a savvy health-care consumer. Educate yourself on the benefits of early access to palliative or hospice care, choose wisely (not all hospices offer the same level of service or expertise), and make your end-of-life decision a part of your advance directive paperwork.
Debra Anthony Larson
President and CEO
Hospice Savannah Inc.