Submitted by Cornerstone Hospice and Palliative Care
November is National Hospice and Palliative Care month. A time when hospices across America, like Cornerstone, make an extra effort to educate citizens about hospice and palliative care. There are thousands of people who die every year having not received the benefit of hospice care or who live with a chronic condition that could be addressed by Palliative care.
Hospice care was developed here in America in the 1970’s. In only a few locations around the country, hospice was a volunteer-driven, grassroots movement. Today, hospice is an important part of the country’s health care system, providing care to a million and a half people every year, most of them members of the Medicare program. Some with private insurance.
It was 1982 that President Ronald Reagan, at the urging of then-Senator Robert Dole, signed the law making hospice a Medicare benefit. It was the result of health care workers in various hospitals insisting that a hospice program would provide more compassion and dignity for those with conditions that were terminal. As a result, Cornerstone hospice care is paid, in full, by Medicare. Patients not yet in Medicare are usually covered by private insurance.
The focus of Cornerstone Hospice is to provide comfort by managing pain and giving much-needed support to members of the patient’s family and/or caregivers.”Probably the number one comment we receive is from family members who say ‘if we had known how good hospice would be for Mama, we would have asked for you earlier'” said Chuck Lee, CEO of Cornerstone Hospice and Palliative Care.
Close to 98-percent of hospice patients are cared for in their home, surrounded by friends and family, the way they want it to be. Stories are told, laughter is heard and love is shared. But for some, home is now a nursing home or an assisted-living center. Cornerstone Hospice comes to the patient wherever they call home. And for some patients, the home-like amenities of one of Cornerstone’s hospice houses in Tavares,The Villages, Clermont or Sumterville may be preferred.
For a majority of hospice patients, Cancer is the most common diagnosis, but increasingly we are seeing patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia. COPD and Congestive Heart Failure are among other reasons for which hospice may be recommended.
While end-of-life care is what our nurses and doctors provide, Cornerstone also offers bereavement services to members of the patient’s family following the death of their loved one. The grief process is an important element that can be eased through interaction with our bereavement professionals, in either individual or group sessions.
Cornerstone also offers Palliative care for people with serious illness. This is a more recent specialized track of medical care that focuses on providing relief from symptoms of pain and stress from a seriously chronic illness. “The palliative care goal is always to find a way to improve the patient’s quality of life.” said spokesman Garry Mac. “It is not unusual for a palliative patient to, somewhere down the road, transition to hospice, but that is not always the case.”
In this month with increased focus on hospice care, Cornerstone leadership wants to stress the importance of what is called Advanced Care Planning. Meaning: making sure your family knows what you want and expect at the end of life. There are many resources available through ‘The Conversation Project’, the ‘Five Wishes’ website or any number of others. “It is important to share, with your loved ones, how you want to be cared for on that most precious part of your journey” said Lee. “And telling them now does everyone in the family a big favor.”
Cornerstone began 37 years ago this month as a very local hospice in Lake County. Over the years, as their reputation for quality hospice care spread, they branched out and now serve seven counties across Central Florida. (Lake, Polk, Sumpter, Orange, Osceola, Hardee and Highlands. If the doctor recommends hospice care, you should ask for Cornerstone by name.
For you to learn much more about Cornerstone Hospice and Palliative Care their website is www.Cornerstonehospice.org.
Cornerstone Hospice and Palliative Care