Sioux City, Iowa – November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month and Hospice of Siouxland is reaching out to raise awareness about the highest quality care for all people coping with life-limiting illness.
The National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), along with hospices across the country are reaching out to help people understand the importance of planning for the care they would want if they were facing a serious or life-limiting illness. “One of the things that hospice and palliative care professionals hear from families again and again is “why didn’t we learn about hospice care earlier,” said J. Donald Schumacher, president and CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. “The best time to learn about hospice or palliative care is before you are facing a medical crisis and advance care planning is one of the tools to help people think about their wishes.”
Advance care planning involves talking about the care you would and would not want – and then completing an advance directive to document and share those wishes with others. NHPCO’s www.CaringInfo.org offers resources to help with these important discussions, including state-specific advance directive forms that can be downloaded free of charge.
“Hospice is here to help– we see many patients and their families experience more meaningful moments together as a family, and Hospice helps them focus on living, despite their terminal diagnoses,” says Carla Thompson, Director of Hospice of Siouxland. “These services are so beneficial to the patient and their families not only while they receive hospice or palliative care services, but also through the grief programs that continue to help their family.” Hospice of Siouxland throughout the month of November will be educating the community about Palliative Care and Hospice and how these programs can help patients and their families with the support and care that is so important when they are concerned about a family member or friend. They can also offer support with advanced care planning.
To distinguish between the two:
Palliative Care is not just for end of life, it can begin at the start of a serious illness and be given alongside treatments designed to combat the disease. It can be an important component of treatment for long-term progressive conditions like cancer, parkinsons disease, kidney disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), heart disease, and other illnesses. Palliative Care may actually extend life and help them to have a better quality of life then people who do not receive palliative care help. Palliative care may just be for a short period of time, it does not mean that you will then go into hospice care or that you have to stay on palliative care.
Hospice, on the other hand, offers medical care toward a different goal: maintaining or improving quality of life for someone whose illness, disease or condition is unlikely to be cured. It assists with physical, emotional and spiritual pain that often accompanies terminal illness. Hospice care also offers practical support for the caregiver(s) during the illness and grief support after the death. Hospice is something more that is available to the patient and the entire family when curative measures have been exhausted and life prognosis is six months or less.
Visit our website at www.hospiceofsiouxland.com for information on hospice, palliative care services and advanced directives. Also NHPCO offers an online interactive tool at www.momentsoflife.org/options that in less than 60 seconds is designed to help guide you with healthcare choices if a person or a loved one is facing a serious illness, especially if that illness is getting worse.