Hospice: There's more to know

When asked about Hospice, many people know that it provides pain management, emotional support, help with family caregiving and spiritual care to patients and their families when a cure is not possible. Everyone seems to know a family or friend who was helped by Hospice when faced with the serious illness and death of a loved one. However, many people may not know that Hospice provides what the majority of Americans say they want at the end of life--excellent pain management, comfort, and support for the patient and the family. Did you know that... Hospice care is fully covered by Medicare, private insurance and in most states by Medicaid. In addition to quality medical care from nurses and doctors, highly-trained social workers, clergy members, volunteers and others comprise a team of professionals offering comprehensive support and respite. Hospice care is available for those with advanced Alzheimers disease, HIV/AIDS, and even to children--anyone who is facing a serious, life-limiting illness. The Hospice benefit pays for medications and medical equipment to keep the person safe and comfortable. Hospice care is available as long as a doctor believes the patient is eligible. Hospice professionals can help people document their wishes for end-of-life care and offer assistance with important documents such as advance directives. Hospice care can take place in an assisted living facility or wherever someone calls home. More than 4,000 Hospice programs provided care to over 1.5 million Americans last year. Hospice care can include complementary therapies, such as music and art, to bring additional comfort to patients and families. Less than one percent of Medicare beneficiaries live in an area that is not served by Hospice. Hospices offer grief support to those families served by Hospice as well as anyone in the community who is grieving. One of the most common sentiments from families who have been helped by Hospice care is, We wish we had known about Hospice sooner. And theres even more to know! To learn more contact Hospice of the North Country, call 561-8465, go to www.caringinfo.org or call 1-800-658-8898. Heather M.B. Bradt
Hospice of the North Country, Plattsburgh

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