Amberly Molosky, director of hospice for Banner Health.
Question: Is hospice care really important at the end of life?
Answer: One of the most important things that people need to learn is that hospice helps patients and families focus on living. This surprises some people. Many Americans mistakenly think that hospice is a place you go when there's nothing left to be done to treat an illness. That couldn't be further from the truth.
For more than 30 years, hospice care has improved the quality of life for people facing an illness that cannot be cured, and helped their family caregivers as well. Palliative care provides comfort and support at any stage of a serious illness, from diagnosis on.
The hospice/palliative care team, made up of skilled professionals and trained volunteers, provides expert medical care to keep patients comfortable and able to best enjoy time with loved ones. The hospice team answers questions, offers advice on what to expect, and helps families with the duties of being a caregiver. The team also provides emotional and spiritual support for the entire family.
Research from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization has found that families report a better quality of life for a loved one who received hospice care. With the help of hospice, patients and families can focus on what's most important - enjoying life together and living as fully as possible. This important message lasts beyond November and is important all year.
Reviewed November 2010