Thursday, November 1, 2007

Hospice is About Living

Members of the Hope Hospice staff recently participated in a beautiful wedding. They knew the groom well – he was in our care, and the wedding was conducted in our Hope Hospice House chapel. We have been sharing memories of the past 100 years with a centenarian, enjoying her stories from “way back then.” One of our art therapists is making colorful imprints of a baby’s tiny hands and feet, to be treasured by Mommy and Daddy. These are our “Moments of Hope,” and they are happening every day.

The time at which someone is nearing the end of life does not mean their life has already ended. Hospice is about living. All attention is focused on the individual, not on their illness. The hospice care team – physician, nurse, social worker, chaplain, therapists and volunteers, work to meet the person’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs. What we do every day is more than traditional health care, it’s about dignity, respect and compassion.

In fact, in proclaiming November 2007 as National Hospice Month, President Bush said, “One of America’s greatest values is compassion, and our country is blessed by all those who dedicate themselves to caring for others.”

Many of the families who chose hospice for their loved one have told us, “We wish we had known about Hope Hospice sooner.” By this they mean that had they known that their loved one could have received such comprehensive and compassionate care sooner rather than later, it would have been better for the loved one and it would have given the family greater peace of mind.

We endeavor to make the transition to hospice care as comfortable and easy as possible. Early referrals enable the patient and family to immediately begin receiving all of the benefits of our care. A person is eligible for hospice care after being certified by a physician as having a life-limiting illness of any kind. Anyone – family member, friend, physician, can refer someone to us.

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

Samira K. Beckwith, Hope President and CEO