Hospice leaves a legacy of compassion

During the holidays or on other special occasions, many of us gather with family and friends. More often than not, these gatherings include the telling and re-telling of family stories; observations about how a child's behavior or expressions mirror that of other family members; the sharing of recipes and traditions that have been handed down from generation to generation; and often remembrances of those who are no longer with us.

This emphasis on remembrance, while present during joyful times, also plays an important role in difficult times, especially at the end of life. Studies have shown that, when faced with a life-limiting illness, most people are more concerned about the impact it will have on their family, not themselves.

By focusing on the individual, not the illness, hospice and palliative care honor life’s final journey. Hospice and palliative care bring comfort and peace to help people live every moment of life to the fullest, leaving loved ones with memories they can treasure.

Losing a loved one is always hard. However, having support and care especially tailored to the end of life can help bring out special moments that might not otherwise be possible.

Hospice and palliative care professionals and volunteers understand that every person they care for is a unique individual with a lifetime of experiences, relationships and gifts to share. Last year, more than 1.4 million people chose hospice care when facing the end of life. This choice ensured respect and dignity for the person who was dying, and ensured that family and loved ones were left with a legacy of compassion and caring.

November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, a time to celebrate those who provide hospice and palliative care to those in our community and help raise awareness of quality care at the end of life. During November, hospices also are honoring patients and families coping with life-limiting illnesses. In addition, National Hospice Month gives us an opportunity to promote important discussions with our loved ones and our health care providers about the care we want at the end of our lives.

At Blount Memorial, we believe that even when a cure is no longer possible, there is still much that can be given to improve the quality of life of patients and their families. Hospice is one type of palliative or comfort care, which is total care for patients who have a progressive and life-limiting illness that is not responding to treatment. By partnering with Blount Memorial Palliative Care, patients can receive care at local nursing or assisted living facilities.

Hospice affirms life and regards dying as a normal part of the life cycle. With hospice care, death is neither hastened nor postponed. Blount Memorial Palliative Care services include:

Pain relief and symptom management

Increased patient comfort

Support from trained volunteers

Intermittent nursing and home care aide visits

In-home counseling, social work, and spiritual support for patients and families

Bereavement support to the family

If you have questions or if you would like to find out more that is offered through Blount Memorial Palliative Care, visit our Web site at www.blountmemorial.org or call 865-977-5702.

Michelle Evans is the outreach coordinator for Blount Memorial Palliative Care.

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