The end of life should be lived with as much convenience and joy as each day before. It is a moment when the discomfort from a serious illness is replaced with feelings of love from close relatives and care providers. Hospice care neither speeds up nor postpones death. It is about enhancing time people share together. “Patients and their loved ones as well as doctors, choose hospice for many reasons and the key word is choice, placing the decisions in the hands of patients and close relatives,” says community liaison, Kristen Lorenz. “We see our services as a gift of physical, emotional and spiritual support with care and dignity.”
What is hospice care? It’s a philosophy of modern care for the control of signs associated with an individual’s diagnosed medical problem. The care is provided occasionally and as needed wherever the individual lives, including someone’s house, assisted living facility, long-term care center or hospital. “We try to emphasize that getting hospice care does not mean giving up hope,” says Lorenz. “We change the focus to one of making the most of life. The goal is to recover the essence of life through pain management and management of symptoms, so family members can remember special periods and create even more of them.”
According to Lorenz, only some Americans eligible for hospice care coverage take advantage of the benefit, 27% to be exact. Of that getting hospice care, the average time frame is only 9.6 days. Such proper care is 100% covered by Medicare Part A, State health programs and Veterans Administration benefits based upon an individual’s diagnosis and life span. While most often utilized for those with six months or less to live, there are times when it is available for longer. “It’s truly remarkable that so few utilize one of the best entitlements we are provided,” she adds.