November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month

November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, a time to recognize and celebrate this specialized type of care — care for the whole person, including medical, emotional, personal, and spiritual care, as well as grief support for the person’s loved ones. 

“Hospice Services of Lake County encourages everyone to learn more about the many benefits of comfort care to help a person to experience as much quality in life as possible despite a serious or life-limiting illness,” says Hospice Services Executive Director Cindy Sobel.

Hospice care is provided wherever a patient calls home and is covered 100 percent by Medicare, Medi-Cal, and many private insurance plans. 

Hospice care is provided by a full team that includes the medical director, Dr. Peter Stanley, registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses, home health aides, social workers, spiritual caregivers, and specially trained volunteers. Grief counseling is also offered to the patient and family. 

Services include medication for symptom management and pain relief, medical equipment such as oxygen, a hospital bed or a wheelchair, and supplies, as appropriate for the patient’s care.

Patients interested in comfort care may have a wide range of diagnoses such as Alzheimer’s Disease, liver failure, heart or lung disease, or cancer. No matter a patient’s age or condition, comfort care is available for anyone with a life-limiting illness meeting eligibility requirements, regardless of ability to pay. 

When people are not feeling their best, they want to be home — out of the hospital— and live as normally as possible. Seven in 10 Americans say they would prefer to die at home, according to a Time/CNN poll. Comfort care is part of a solution that honors people’s wishes and ability to stay at home at a time when each moment is precious.

Sooner is better. If you are interested in information about comfort care, you are encouraged to contact Hospice Services of Lake County, and sooner is better. Sometimes we need help but are not sure what we need or what is available. You don’t have to be referred by a physician to start the inquiry process. 

“By contacting our office, we can help you determine if the time is right,” says Sobel. “We’ll discuss your greatest needs and goals and answer questions to help make informed decisions. One important thing to remember is that you have a choice. Even if you do not have a referral from a doctor, you can still reach out to start the process.” 

Choosing a compassionate, professional hospice is an important decision. Examining your options earlier is always best. Robert Coats says of the hospice care provided for his mother Mary Coats, a long-time resident of Clearlake, “The hospice team is supporting our family by giving expert care to make sure my mother’s final months are as content and comfortable as possible. Hospice staff are not only medical professionals but also have become our friends.”

“This time at the end of life is often difficult and stressful, but Hospice Services of Lake County is there with care and support so that patients and loved ones can find meaning and peace,” states Sobel. 

Hospice Services of Lake County is a nonprofit organization serving the community for 43 years. For assistance or information on hospice and palliative care services, to donate or to volunteer, please contact (707) 263-6222, or development@lakecountyhospice.org.

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