Lake Regional Health System celebrated the opening of Lake Regional Hospice with a ribbon cutting on Nov. 7. The event coincided with National Home Care and Hospice Month, a time to honor the nurses, aides, therapists, social workers, chaplains and administrators who make an important difference in their patients' lives.
Lake Regional is the only agency in the area that provides both home health and hospice services.
"This means our staff is cross-trained in both areas, so if a patient moves from home health to hospice, we can continue their care with the same caregivers they have come to know and trust," said Jill Wilke, director of Lake Regional Palliative Care, Home Health & Hospice.
Hospice care is for people diagnosed with a life-limiting condition. Patients in hospice are no longer seeking treatment to cure their illnesses; instead, care focuses on managing symptoms, such as pain, shortness of breath and nausea.
"Our hospice staff have specialized training and many years of experience compassionately caring for people at the end of life to provide the highest quality of life," Wilke said.
Learning about and discussing hospice is appropriate at any time during a life-limiting illness. Studies show that people have improved quality of life and actually live longer in hospice care 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.
"Enrolling in hospice does not mean giving up hope or all treatment," Wilke said. "Hopes may shift and change, and the hospice team will be there to support patients and families through these changes."