Monthly Archives: March 2014

Thumbs Ups for Hospice!

The work of hospice is personal and emotional. Comments from survivors regarding hospice are revealing. Here are a handful of excerpts taken from the individual stories told at HospiceFoundation.org.

“If I had one wish it would be to be able to reach people that have the same fears about Hospice that Fred and I had and to be able to reassure them. Hospice gave him the quality of life for his last days that he would not have had without them.”

“The people we were lucky enough to have assigned to our team while Dad was at home were some of the most caring and professional individuals I’ve ever met. They even attended Dad’s funeral service.”

“Our family is so grateful to have had Hospice. They are such wonderful and loving people and we will forever more recommend hospice services to anyone who is in need… You all make such a difference to those departing us and those of us who are left behind.”

“There simply are no words to express what I feel for these wonderful people who helped each of us, especially Mom, who was allowed to die at home, surrounded by people who loved her. I don’t know what my Dad would have done without them.”

“I appreciated the hospice staff and their attention to even the oddest of our requests during this difficult time… Although losing a loved one was unimaginably personal, hospice lent a heartfelt hand, gently guiding us through this anguished journey.”

“Hospice care does not end at the moment of death…. The warmth the hospice staff has extended to me and to my Mother’s caregivers has made it much easier for all of us to get through the past months since her death.”

Take a moment to read these stories. Click HERE to check out the full list.

If you have questions about hospice care, please call us at Hope Hospice at 314-984-9800. We serve patients and families throughout the St. Louis area.

 

What Can Hospice Do For YOU (And Your Family)?

The list of hospice services is long. In addition to providing pain relief and symptom control to patients, hospice care offers much more.

Our nurses provide regular visits to monitor patient care. They provide leadership and guidance for the Home Health Aides who also visit patients in their homes. Hospice nurses help train and educate caregivers about patient care.

Possibly the most important service our nurses provide is emotional support. Over time, through repeat visits, a relationship of trust develops.

Home Health Aides can help with personal care, such as bath, shampoo and other needs.

Each hospice agency has social workers who assess the psychosocial situation surrounding the patient and family members. They work to provide family counseling and education. They also provide referrals to other resources that may be needed.

The hospice chaplain offers spiritual support and counseling to the patient and, if needed, to the family members. The chaplain can help with funeral planning and may participate in the funeral, if requested. The chaplain also provides bereavement follow up calls to the family members and can, in most cases, offer grief counseling.

The hospice administrative staff is available to answer questions, and address concerns and grievances.

Our community liaisons are often the first people to meet with patients and families. They are trained to explain what hospice is and how it works. They share all the details of the Medicare hospice benefit.

They offer an overview of what a patient and family can expect in the following weeks and months. They make sure that patients are given a list of patient rights.

What can hospice do for YOU? Hospice offers a multitude of services, including many that we don’t have room to list here. To learn more about hospice care in St. Louis, call us at Hope Hospice at any time. 314-984-9800.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making The Hospice Decision

We all want control in our lives. Even those of us who have given up control of certain aspects of our lives still want to control many other parts of our existence.

We may depend on other family members and doctors for guidance about major life and health decisions, but, ultimately, most of us want to make the big choices for ourselves.

The decision to enroll in hospice care is, for many, not an easy choice to make. Often there are many good reasons to go on hospice, which must be weighed against reasons not to begin hospice care.

The key element of hospice care is the patient’s physical comfort. Emotional and spiritual support for the patient and family members are important components. Even though hospice provides those important services, a patient may not be quite ready to make the transition to hospice care.

As we make the big decisions in our lives, it is important to have as much information as possible. We talk to friends and neighbors who may have had a loved one on hospice care. We reach out to clergy who may have observed hospice care for church members.

It is also important to talk to a hospice representative. He or she can answer your specific questions. Not all hospices provide the same level of service. Not all hospices are as responsive to special needs as others. Not all hospices are easy to reach on nights and weekends.

If you are a patient who wants to know more about hospice (or you are a close family member), call us at Hope Hospice at 314-984-9800. We can connect you to someone who may be able to answer questions by phone. In some cases, it may be best for a Hope Hospice representative to meet with you in person.

As you control your personal destiny, good information will help you make the best choices for you and your life.

Hope Hospice serves patients and families in St. Louis city and county and in Jefferson, St. Charles and Franklin counties.

 

 

 

 

Another Way Hope Hospice Helps The Community

On most Wednesday mornings, there’s a gathering in the Hope Hospice break room/kitchen area in Hope’s offices.

Carl Lathan, one of Hope Hospice’s Community Liaisons, meets around the kitchen table with a small group of students from the Saint Louis University School of Medicine. Carl provides them with basic information about hospice care.

“Hospice 101,” as he calls it, introduces these med students to a concept unfamiliar to many of them. Each week’s group includes individuals who are high achievers. They have completed their undergrad work and have competed to attain a spot in a leading medical school. They are among our nation’s best and brightest.

Yet, they know little about hospice. Even those students who do have a passing awareness of hospice care are generally unfamiliar with all the various aspects of hospice care. Carl makes sure they understand the main goals of hospice: ensuring patient comfort and controlling patient symptoms. He also mentions the work hospices do in addressing patient and family emotional and spiritual needs.

Carl Lathan has shared this “Hospice 101” with numerous groups of medical students, so he knows what is most important. However, should any area of his imparted insight remain unclear, he always makes sure there is time for questions.

Allowing the medical school students to learn at Hope Hospice headquarters, where they have the opportunity to sit in on the weekly staff meeting, means they have the chance to hear also from other hospice team members.

For some of these students, this visit with Carl may be the only exposure they will receive to hospice care until they become doctors. Giving these SLU School of Medicine students an opportunity to learn from a veteran hospice professional is something that we at Hope Hospice are proud to provide as a community service.

For information about hospice care in metro St. Louis, please call Hope Hospice at 314-984-9800.

Hospice: NOT A Frightening Word

To some, it’s like the name Valdemort in the Harry Potter books. “He who must not be named” is how characters in the books and movies often referred to the Dark Lord.

For some Americans, the word hospice has a similar vibe. Hospice is associated with death and dying. Simply uttering the word “hospice” can be difficult for patients, family members and even doctors and other medical personnel.

But for many Americans, both patients and their family members, hospice means something good, something positive. A referral to hospice, for many patients, means an end to treatments that may have become ineffective, but are still difficult to endure. A referral to hospice means a focus on a patient’s comfort for the rest of his or her life. A referral to hospice can indicate a doctor’s true concern for a patient’s end-of-life experience.

Hospice is a word that can cause one’s ears to perk up. It can get attention. “Did you say… hospice?” But merely hearing the word spoken out loud should not be a cause for fright or anguish. In fact, when a patient is facing a life threatening health crisis, hospice should be discussed early in treatment.

Knowing that hospice is an option, in case treatment of the condition is less than successful, should actually provide reassurance. Learning about hospice and all that hospice care has to offer before hospice is needed can give a patient and family members a clear understanding of the ways hospice can help.

Rather than react with a shudder of fear when the word hospice is spoken, think of hospice as a health care service designed to make people feel better—patients and family members. Hospice care may not be needed now, or soon, or even for a few or several years.

Don’t be scared of hospice. Don’t panic at the mere mention of the word hospice. This is not a frightening word. It should be regarded as a comforting word.

If you have questions about hospice, call us at Hope Hospice in metro St. Louis at 314-984-9800.