November is National Hospice Month, and Lake Regional is raising awareness that hospice services provide care that allows people to live as fully as possible despite a life-limiting illness.
Marilyn Naes, 87, has been enrolled in Lake Regional Hospice since moving back to her Camdenton summer home in April 2020. She receives personalized care twice a week, in her home, from nurses who help ease her symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
“I really like my nurses; they are nice and very good at their jobs,” Naes said. “Hospice care also gives me peace of mind, knowing that I have my nurses regularly checking in on me since my family is not local. I would be lost without their support.”
Upon enrolling in hospice, each patient’s care team develops a plan that addresses the whole range of physical and emotional needs of the patient and the patient's loved ones. This plan includes the frequency of visits and what services are provided.
“Hospice care focuses on supporting patients and their loved ones who want to make the most of their time together,” said Jill Wilke, R.N., M.S., CPLC, director of Lake Regional Palliative Care, Home Health & Hospice. “Choosing hospice does not mean giving up.”
If families see hospice as admitting defeat, they might not consider it until their loved one has uncontrolled symptoms or is near death, Wilke added
“Although hospice will provide care at these times, patients and families benefit more when hospice services begin earlier,” she 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.