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Hospice Helps Patients and Families Focus on Quality of Life

Nov 20, 2015 02:28PM ● By MED Magazine

November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month and Hospice of Siouxland is 

 reaching out to raise awareness about the highest quality care for all people coping with life-limiting illness.


“Every year, nearly 1.6 million people living with a life-limiting illness receive care from hospice and palliative care providers in this country,” said J. Donald Schumacher, president and CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. “These highly-trained professionals ensure that patients and families find dignity, respect, and love during life’s most difficult journey.”  Hospice is not a place. Hospice and palliative care programs provide pain management, symptom control, psychosocial support, and spiritual care to patients and their families when a cure is not possible.


This is a time to educate the community about Palliative Care and Hospice and how these programs can help patients and their families with the support and care that is so important when they are concerned about a family member or friend. To distinguish between the two…Palliative Care is not just for end of life, it can begin at the start of a serious illness and be given alongside treatments designed to combat the disease.  It can be an important component of treatment for long-term progressive conditions like cancer, parkinsons disease, kidney disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), heart disease, and other illnesses. Palliative Care may actually extend life and help them to have a better quality of life then people who do not receive palliative care help.


Hospice, on the other hand, offers medical care toward a different goal: maintaining or improving quality of life for someone whose illness, disease or condition is unlikely to be cured.  It assists with physical, emotional and spiritual pain that often accompanies terminal illness. Hospice care also offers practical support for the caregiver(s) during the illness and grief support after the death.  Hospice is something more that is available to the patient and the entire family when curative measures have been exhausted and life prognosis is six months or less.


“ Hospice is here to help-- we see many patients and their families experience more meaningful moments together and Hospice helps them focus on living, despite their terminal diagnoses. The comment I hear most from families is that they wish they would have called sooner,” says Linda Todd, Director of Hospice of Siouxland.  “We receive many letters of thanks from families who have had the Palliative Care or Hospice Services.”  One of the notes sent to Hospice reads as follows : "Your gentle guidance as we prepared to say goodbye to our mother was a real gift to our family.  She was able to spend personal and private time with her loved ones and was comfortable, peaceful and we had time to grieve, laugh and pray together---this was healing for us.  We thank you deeply."


Hospice of Siouxland will celebrate throughout the month of November providing education and information for Siouxlanders who have questions about how we can help their family with palliative care services, hospice, with grieving issues, or with advanced care planning.


Visit our website at for information on hospice and palliative care services.  For video’s and stories showing the many ways hospice makes facing the end of life a special time, visit