Hospice is not a place, but rather a way of caring that brings comfort to people at the end of life, while offering support to their family. Yet too often hospice referrals are not made until the patient has uncontrolled symptoms or is near death. While everyone will face this journey, facing the end of life with assistance from qualified hospice caregivers can make the journey more comfortable.
Annette Kenney (right) and Mallorie Kitchens, RN, (left) recall their time spent with her late husband, Charles Kenney, who received hospice care for over nine months.
Annette Kenney explains the benefits her late husband, Charles, received from early treatment with hospice care. “My late husband had pancreatic cancer and he received hospice care for nine months. During this time, we were able to keep him at home and comfortable while continuing to receive medical care. The personal care Charles received improved his daily quality of life. Whatever was needed, the team of medical personnel provided.”
The goal of hospice care is to improve quality of life by providing physical and emotional needs. With a full team of medical caregivers, patients often avoid Emergency Room and hospital visits. Many symptoms, such as pain, are controlled so they do not become severe and eliminate the need for the patient to leave their home.
“The sooner the hospice treatment begins, the sooner the patient and family members can receive the full benefits of hospice services,” says Mallorie Kitchens, RN, ComfortCare Route Nurse. “A person does not have to have a terminal cancer or be on his or her deathbed to receive help through hospice. In my role, we can coordinate the care of the patient and services to ensure symptom control and pain management.”
When severely ill patients who suffer from chronic conditions like heart disease, COPD and dementia receive hospice care early on, they experience less depression while improving mentally, physically and emotionally. With care twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, hospice can offer relief for the patient.
Hospice care is not only provided for the patient, but for the patient’s caregiver and immediate family.
“When we meet with patients and their family who are months away from death, we can assist with establishing a routine. Providing personal care for a loved one, along with errands, meals and housework can add additional stress, however through hospice services we can provide assistance through our certified caregivers, social workers and volunteer program,” said Kitchens.
As Mrs. Kenney recalls her experience with hospice, she states, “The team was such a great help. They are fine people to work with. I cannot imagine keeping Charles at home without assistance. When I needed to run an errand, ComfortCare Hospice was there to stay with Charles. When I needed a shoulder to cry on, ComfortCare Hospice was there for me. I just felt like they were my family and will always have a special place in my heart.”
ComfortCare Hospice, a division of South Central Regional Medical Center in Laurel, offers a full spectrum of care for patients. The hospice team consists of physicians, nurses, nurse aids, social workers, a chaplain and in-home volunteers. Other services such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and dietary counseling can be provided as needed. ComfortCare Hospice services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To make a referral or for more information about ComfortCare Hospice, contact us at 601-422-0054.