November is National Hospice & Palliative Care Month. Although the concept of hospice care has been around for centuries, it is still an area of medical practice that many people today aren’t aware of. Hospice provides comfort and support during the final stages of one’s life. It does more than just meet the physical needs of patients. In many cases, patients require more than just physical comfort. It may be that the patient has spiritual or psychosocial needs that could be fulfilled before their passing. Hospice offers many resources and programs to meet these needs and ensure the patient has dignity and is at peace at the end of their journey.
A Painless Departure
Medication is often used during hospice to relieve any pain that the patient may be going through. Controlling pain is a significant part of allowing a patient to pass away with dignity and gives the patient and their family a chance to share their final moments. Morphine is a common medication used during this process, however, for some individuals, the side effects outweigh the benefits. In these cases, alternative methods of pain relief would be considered.
At Peace with the Mind and Soul
Hospice is accompanied by various programs to meet the needs of not only the patient’s but also their families and friends’ mind and soul. Hospices might provide families opportunities to collect the experiences and memories of their loved one into tangible objects, such as a DVD or a book so that they will always have a piece of them after they move on. At Silverado Hospice, these are known as Memory Catchers. Patients can come from various cultural or religious backgrounds, and they may want that reflected in the way they are cared for and pass away. Hospice can accommodate for any cultural traditions or religious practices they would like incorporated. Grief counseling and bereavement support is also provided to the patient’s family and friends to help deal with their loss.
We Honor Veterans
Those who serve our country in the armed forces are deserving of special honor for their bravery and dedication. Nowhere is this truer than at the end of a veteran’s life, so many hospices, including Silverado Hospice, are proud to partner with We Honor Veterans to help provide care that honors the individual and their service. We Honor Veterans is a program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, run in collaboration with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. Through this program, hospices are able to accommodate for the specific needs that veterans often have. These include providing care and support specific to traumas and wars they served in and care focused on population, such as homelessness, substance abuse, and PTSD.
Perhaps one of the best things hospice can do is provide these benefits without adding additional financial burden to the family. Hospice is funded by Medicare, Medicaid and also by most individual insurers for individuals who have a six-month or less terminal prognosis. When needing hospice, it’s important to learn about the hospice benefits, available coverage and hospice care providers near you.