The best time to gain an understanding of palliative, hospice and grief services is when you don’t need them. I’ve met with countless families and have never once heard, “I really should have held off on calling to learn about hospice.”
There are several different programs and services available to you in the community that can help when a serious diagnosis is received, or you experience an unexpected death of a loved one.
Palliative Medicine is patient and family-centered care for those facing serious and chronic illnesses. Palliative medicine addresses physical, emotional and social needs to help patient autonomy, access to information and choice. It also focuses on providing relief from symptoms and stresses of a serious illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for patients and families.
Hospice Care is for any individual who has been diagnosed with a life-limiting disease with a life expectancy of six months or less if the disease process runs its normal course. Hospice cares for individuals seeking comfort measures only, such as pain management and symptom control. The hospice team includes physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, CNAs, spiritual counselors, social workers and volunteers. This team of compassionate caregivers is there not only for the patient, but also to walk alongside the family.
Grief Support is available to you and your family. Locally, there are options for individual grief counseling, support groups and complementary programs. Not only is this important for you to recognize, but also apply that thinking to those that you work alongside. The Grief Recovery Institute conducted a survey in 2003 and found that within one year, the financial loss in productivity as a result of employees experiencing grief totaled over $75 billion.
It’s never too soon to learn more about these supportive services. The time to call is now.