November is National Home Care and Hospice Month. Jill Wilke, director of Lake Regional Palliative Care, Home Health & Hospice, is taking the opportunity to share that choosing hospice does not mean giving up.
“Hospice care focuses on supporting patients and their loved ones who want to make the most of their time together,” Wilke said. “Accepting hospice is not giving up on life — it is taking a stand for life, here and now.”
If families see hospice as admitting defeat, they might not consider it until their loved one has uncontrolled symptoms or is near death.
“Although hospice will provide care at these times, patients and families benefit more when hospice services begin earlier,” Wilke said.
Studies show that people have improved quality of life and actually live longer in hospice care. This is because many symptoms, such as pain, are better controlled. Also, problems that might have led to an emergency room visit or hospitalization can be managed at home with support from the experienced hospice team.
Lake Regional operates both home health and hospice programs. Staff members are cross-trained in both areas, so if a patient moves from home health to hospice, Lake Regional can continue their care with the same caregivers they have come to know and trust.
Lake Regional Hospice seeks volunteers to provide companionship, run errands, complete light housework or provide respite for caregivers. Hospice volunteers receive training on such topics as understanding grief and communication techniques, to help them feel prepared for their role. To learn more, contact Terri Hall, director of Auxiliary and Fund Development, at 573.348.8153.