Vicki Barron and Katy Thiel: Hospice care

Hospice isn’t a place. It’s a type of care that focuses on living — living as fully as possible, up until the end of life. Hospice brings comfort, love and respect to the patients and families we care for. Considered to be the model for high-quality, compassionate care at the end of life, hospice care involves a team-oriented approach to care that includes expert medical care, pain and symptom management, and emotional and spiritual support. All care expressly is tailored to the patient’s needs and wishes. Hospice offers the services and support that you want when coping with a serious or life-limiting illness.

Some things you might not know about Hospice:

The goal of this type of care is to treat the person instead of the disease, and focus on the family caregivers, not just the individual. The quality of life is emphasized.

Hospice is covered under Medicare, Medicaid, most private insurance plans, HMOs and other managed care organizations.

Trained volunteers across the U.S. contribute more than 21 million hours of service every year.

Research shows that 8 out of 10 Americans would want to stay in their homes surrounded by family and loved ones if they were faced with a life-limiting illness. Hospice can help you try to make this happen.

Cancer accounts for less than 36 percent of hospice patients, which surprises many people who mistakenly think hospice only serves cancer patients. The five other leading diagnoses are: heart disease, debility, dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease), lung disease and stroke.

Hospice brings you and your family compassionate care when a cure isn’t possible. Palliative care provides comfort and support earlier in the course of a serious illness. Together, hospice and palliative care provide solutions beyond traditional medical care. Most importantly, hospice brings you and your family comfort, love and respect.

Vicki Barron and Katy Thiel

Co-directors of Hospice and Palliative Care for the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association

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