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11/1/2017 November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, and hospice and palliative care programs across the country are reaching out to raise awareness about hospice and palliative care. Hospice is not a place, but rather high-quality care that enables patients and families to focus on living as fully as possible despite a life-limiting illness. Palliative care brings this holistic model of care to people earlier in the course of a serious illness while they are still seeking aggressive medical care.

“Every year, nearly 1.4 million people living with a life-limiting illness receive care from hospices in this country,” said Edo Banach, president and CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. “These highly trained professionals ensure that patients and families find dignity, respect, and love during life’s most difficult journey.”

Hospice and palliative care programs provide pain management, symptom control, psychosocial support, and spiritual care to patients and their families when a cure is not possible. These unique offerings combine the highest level of quality medical care with the emotional and spiritual support that families need most when facing a serious illness or the end of life.

As Dr. Amy Swindell, DO, HMDC, Family Hospice Eastern Region Medical Director shares, “People have many different ideas about what hospice care is and what it isn’t. We want to share the truth about hospice so patients and families can receive the full benefit of care at the end of life.”

Dr. Swindell shares ten facts about hospice:

1. Hospice is not a place - it’s high-quality care that focuses on comfort and quality of life.
2. Hospice is paid for by Medicare, Medicaid and most insurance plans. Fear of costs should never prevent a person from accessing hospice care.
3. Hospice serves anyone with a life-limiting illness, regardless of age or type of illness.
4. Hospice provides expert medical care, as well as spiritual and emotional support to patients and families.
5. Research has shown than the majority of Americans would prefer to be at home at end of life - hospice makes this possible for most people.
6. Hospice serves people living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
7. Hospice patients and families can receive care for six months or longer.
8. A person may keep his or her referring physician involved while receiving hospice care.
9. Hospice offers grief and bereavement services to family members to help them adjust to the loss in their lives.
10. Research has shown people receiving hospice care can live longer than similar patients who do not opt for hospice.

More information about hospice, palliative care and advance care planning is available from Family Hospice at 1-800-445-6262 or www.homenursingagency.com or from NHPCO’s CaringInfo.org.

Vides and stories from families showing the many ways hospice and palliative care make special moments possible can be found at www.momentsoflife.org.

About Family Hospice:

Family Hospice and Palliative Care has been providing compassionate care since 1980. Family Hospice integrated as part of Home Nursing Agency in 2016, becoming the Commonwealth’s largest nonprofit hospice provider. Serving 20 counties in Western and Central Pennsylvania, Family Hospice helps patients make choices about their care, supports family and friends who are grieving, and educates both professionals and the community about end-of-life issues. Through a commitment to quality services, Family Hospice provides a complete continuum of care to patients and families. For more information, visit www.homenursingagency.com or call 1-800-445-6262. Home Nursing Agency is a United Way partner agency in Bedford County, Blair County, Huntingdon County, and the Laurel Highlands.