Life has a funny way of sneaking up on us and keeping us on our toes. Most of us get out of bed everyday trying to juggle work and family. As we get older, our focus changes from trying to juggle the day-to-day responsibilities of caring for our children and spouses to the responsibilities of caring for our parents, who may be facing medical issues.
Statistics show that an American baby born in 2016 can expect to live (on average) to 78.6 years. This is considerably higher than 1960 in which the life expectancy was 69.2 years. This affects us in many ways, some positive and some negative.
With the longer life expectancy comes the potential for financial hardships and medical issues. Some studies show that Americans are living longer but are in poorer health. Those living longer may be faced with disabilities and chronic illnesses such as diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and cancer, forcing us to determine the best course of healthcare for ourselves and our loved ones.
Do we take on the “no holds barred” approach of pursuing aggressive, curative treatments including trial studies, experimental drugs and non-conventional treatments? Do we take a more traditional approach of pursuing conventional medicine? Or do we take on the increasingly accepted approach of hospice and palliative care?
What is hospice care?
Hospice care focuses on providing medical, psychosocial and spiritual comfort to those with a serious illness. It has been practiced since medieval times – much longer than many conventional treatments used today. It became more specialized when physician Dame Cicely Saunders began treating the terminally ill in 1948.
Does hospice mean death?
Does choosing hospice and palliative care mean giving up? As a hospice nurse of over 23 years, I can attest firsthand – both from a professional and from a loved one’s point of view – that it does not. In fact, it’s markedly the opposite.
Hospice and palliative care is a highly specialized, unique component of healthcare that comprehensively treats the patient and their family by focusing on the individual – not necessarily the disease. The desired outcome is making sure the patient’s symptoms are aggressively controlled, the disease trajectory is managed to minimize associated symptoms, and the patient and their loved ones are navigating their own ship.
Hospice is not “GIVING UP.” Hospice is “GETTING UP.”
Hospice is “getting up” the team of highly specialized, uniquely qualified, truly optimistic and profoundly compassionate professionals who have dedicated their lives to making a positive difference in your or your loved one’s life.
Hospice is “getting up” a litany of specialized, patient-specific treatment modalities that will effectively minimize or alleviate symptoms that occur with the condition.
Hospice is “getting up” a plan of care that ensures the outcome is focused on the patient and family the whole way through.
While you cannot predict the future, when you choose hospice care, you can be assured that you will get a team of professionals who never give up on helping you and your family get the very best care.
If you would like more information about hospice and palliative care, contact Crossroads Hospice and Palliative Care at 1-888-564-3405.
DeAnna Looper, RN, CHPN, CHPCA
Senior Vice President of Clinical Operations
Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care
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