Thursday, November 5, 2009

National Hospice Month: Celebrating Love and Care

During November, National Hospice Month, we at Hope reach out to the community to raise awareness about how we can help people coping with life-limiting illness, enabling them to live in comfort and with dignity.

In providing our special care, we know that one of the most important attributes of a good caregiver is listening skills. Attentiveness and effective listening help to determine the quality of care that the patient will receive. At Hope, listening is considered to be an act of love as well as a required skill.

People in need of hospice care may not always realize how their quality of life can be improved, beyond pain and symptom management. They may be reluctant to talk about the “little things” that could make it easier to get around the house, such as a home improvement. Members of our Hope Care Team listen and observe, always in search of answers to the question, “What more can we do to help?”

We meet special needs through our Hopeful Wishes program. When a person in hospice care needs something “extra” to add to their quality of life, we work to fulfill their wish. A woman in our care had been helping her daughter prepare to get married. However, as wedding time drew near, the woman became so ill that she could not leave our hospice house. Her Hope care team fulfilled a wish by arranging a wedding for her daughter in our own chapel. The mother’s bed was brought in, and the daughter was married at bedside in a ceremony led by our chaplain. A local grocery store helped with the wedding and provided the cake. It was a precious moment for everyone, as a Hopeful Wish was fulfilled in a beautiful way.

Some Hopeful Wishes are sweet and simple, such as the aging couple who simply wanted a “date night” at their favorite restaurant. With the help of the restaurant, we made it happen.

Quality of life involves much more than medical care. Emotional and spiritual needs must also be met. The “whole person” must be served. The mission of Hope is to provide exceptional care and support to every individual and their loved ones as they fulfill life’s journey. During National Hospice Month, we celebrate the love and care we provide in support of our mission. We know, and strive to help others understand, that hospice is really about living.

As we observe National Hospice Month, I encourage you to learn more about how we help the people in our community, and how you can help Hope, by visiting our Web site at www.hopehospice.org or by calling Hope at (239) 482-4673 or (800) 835-1673.