November is National Hospice Palliative Care Month – This years’ theme is “Hospice Helps Everyone” and that is truly what hospice does, it helps everyone, from the patient to the family, and help every step of the way.
In 1992, the month of November was designated to raise awareness of hospice and palliative care within the community. During the month of November, hospices across the country are reaching out to raise awareness about important care issues for people coping with serious illness.
The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization defines Palliative care as; patient and family-centered care that optimizes quality of life by anticipating, preventing, and treating suffering patients. Palliative care throughout the continuum of illness involves addressing physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual needs and to facilitate patient autonomy, access to information and choice.
The following features characterize palliative care philosophy and delivery:
Care is provided and services are coordinated by an interdisciplinary team;
Patients, families, palliative and non-palliative health care providers collaborate and communicate about care needs;
Services are available concurrently with or independent of curative or life-prolonging care;
Patient and family hopes for peace and dignity are supported throughout the course of illness, during the dying process, and after death.
There are a few ways that palliative care can help you or your loved ones. First it will provide relief from stress and symptoms of the ailment. Having someone who is an expert at managing pain and other issues will be a huge asset to relieving stress and will teach you how to cope. They will help to coordinator your care, communication is key and a great strength of palliative care providers, and they will ensure you are being taken care of properly. They will provide support to the family caregivers, allowing them to spend time with their loved one as their loved one and not their caregiver; this is a huge burden that is too often taken for granted and palliative care givers understand and address that issue. They will help support your doctor and keep them informed of any changes to your health, they work in partnership with your doctor as an extra layer of support and comfort for your family. The job of a palliative care giver is to help improve your overall quality of life, if they can help find relief for you from pain, shortness of breath and fatigue then they have done their jobs and they can help you get the strength you need to keep a good quality of life.
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