To the editor:
November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month. Many people facing life-limiting illness focus on thoughts of loss and separation. Awareness of this critical need allows us to remind your readers that hospice and palliative care are truly about living.
Over the past 40 years, the number of hospice programs in the U.S. has grown from 1,500 to more than 5,000. High Peaks Hospice and Palliative Care is a resource in our community that provides comfort, dignity and respect for people at a time of need. Professional medical staff, social workers, chaplains and trained volunteers work with patients and families to tailor expert medical care, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support according to their preferences. Hospice works with a patient's personal physician to bring continuity of care to the highest level. Other support services help with managing life's practical tasks as well as complicated issues related to their situation. Hospice can help to resolve conflict, to deal with financial issues and submit medical bills, and to face the burden of grief. Staff and volunteers assume these responsibilities so that patients and their families can live the fullest life possible. Hospice care providers accept life's challenges. They are committed to increasing their skills and understanding in order to enhance the care they provide to each person they are privileged to serve.
Hospice care is covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most insurance plans. Care is provided wherever the person lives: in their home or at an extended-care facility. Care is available to people of all ages, with any life-limiting illness, regardless of their ability to pay.
If you or a loved one is facing a life-limiting illness, learning more about hospice and palliative care could be much more than you think.
Meg Wood, executive director
High Peaks Hospice and Palliative Care