The amazing physicians and clinicians we work with in the community admit that they are sometimes reluctant to refer patients to hospice during the holidays. They understandably think the joy of spending a final holiday season with a loved one shouldn’t be interrupted with an end-of-life discussion.
Most of these caring professionals are not aware that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, January is consistently the month when the most deaths occur in this country. If patients that are eligible for hospice in November and December aren’t referred until January, they and their families may miss out on the many gifts hospice has to offer.
Hospice affirms life and brings a variety of support, services and care to patients and families. Hospice helps to ensure that each patient’s values and preferences are the top priority in decision making as the disease process progresses.
The gift of hospice includes:
- A team approach to manage pain and symptoms
- Hospice physician support
- Experienced hospice nurses
- Certified Nursing Assistants
- Psychosocial staff and Chaplain services
- Medical equipment, oxygen and supplies
- Prescription drugs related to hospice diagnosis
- Dedicated volunteers available to help support daily life tasks or provide companionship
- Social services
- Dietary and nutrition counseling
- 24-hour a day, 7 day a week on-call support
- Bereavement care and grief counseling for families
Hospice can be delivered in whatever setting the patient would like to call home for the holiday season. Care can come to them in their own private home, the home of an adult child, another friend or family member’s home or a senior living community.
We encourage our physician and clinician partners across the states of Georgia and South Carolina to think of hospice as a gift you can give to patients and families this holiday season and beyond.