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Hospice and Palliative Care: Making a Difference

Published in Home Health Services, Hospice Services, Palliative Care, For the Health of It Author: Nola Varilek, CentraCare Home Health & Hospice Community Outreach

A hospice nurse was recently asked, “How can you work in hospice — it must be so sad?”

She answered, “I know I make a huge difference in the quality of a person’s life. I love that I can use my training as a nurse to bring comfort and dignity to my patients, and seeing the relief on their faces and on the faces of those who care for them. I love that I can offer practical solutions to patients and families and help them find more meaningful moments at the end of life.”

Hospice isn’t about dying but is about living as fully as possible despite a life-limiting illness.

November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, a time to draw attention and raise awareness of this special kind of care. CentraCare Hospice has been providing care and services for 40 years, helping more than 1,600 patients in homes and facilities each year across the heart of Central Minnesota.

What is Hospice Care?

Hospice care provides pain management, symptom control, psychosocial support and spiritual care to patients and their families when a cure is not possible. The nation’s hospices serve more than 1.5 million people every year — and their family caregivers, too.

Hospice care is fully covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance plans and HMOs.

Many people only consider hospice care in the final days of life, but hospice is ideally suited to care for patients and family caregivers for the final months of life.

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care brings the same interdisciplinary team care as hospice to people earlier in the course of a serious illness and can be provided along with other treatments they may still be receiving from their doctor.

Hospices are the largest providers of palliative care services and can help answer questions about what might be most appropriate for a person. Many hospitals also have palliative care teams available to provide services.

Hospice and palliative care are available to people of all ages with any serious or life-limiting illness.

Hospice and palliative care combine the highest level of quality medical care with the emotional and spiritual support for patients and family caregivers. Hospice and palliative care can make a profound difference and help maximize the quality of life for all those they care for.

CentraCare Hospice offers a full spectrum of services along with nursing care including physical, occupational and speech therapies, massage therapy, music therapy, animal assisted therapy and volunteers.

We encourage people to sign up for hospice services earlier to reap the maximum benefits of patient and family support. It really is amazing, and most say that they wished that they had signed up for services earlier.

Learn more about CentraCare's hospice and palliative care.