Union residents urged learn about hospice care

Derik Vanderford Staff Writer

November 1, 2013

UNION — November is National Hospice Palliative Care Month.

City of Union Mayor Harold Thompson signed a proclamation Wednesday, making the observance official within the city.

“I encourage citizens to increase their understanding and awareness of care at the end of life and to observe this month with appropriate activities and programs,” Thompson said.

There are more than 80 hospice organizations in South Carolina, and each year, more than 1.65 million Americans living with life-limiting illness — and their families — receive care from the nation’s hospice programs in communities throughout the U.S. Also, more than 450,000 trained volunteers contribute 21 million hours of service to hospice programs annually.

As stated in the City of Union proclamation, hospice and palliative care empowers people to live as fully as possible, surrounded and supported by family and loved ones, despite serious and life-limiting illness. Patients and family caregivers are brought the highest quality care delivered by an interdisciplinary team of skilled professionals that includes physicians, nurses, social workers, therapists, counselors, health aides, spiritual care providers and others who make the wishes of each patient and family a priority. Through pain management and symptom control, caregiver training and assistance, and emotional and spiritual support, patients are able to live fully up until the final moments surrounded and supported by the faces of loved ones, friends, and committed caregivers.

“We encourage you to pray for the families and patients currently receiving hospice care and for the members of their hospice team as they work to provide comfort and support,” said Hospice Care of South Carolina Community Relations Liaison Penny Adamo. Adamo said families are comforted to know someone will be there and that the patient will not be in pain during the transition thanks to pain management.

Adamo also said some people who are unfamiliar with hospice care are often scared of the name “hospice.”

“People look at hospice as death,” Adamo said. “On one side of the coin, it is, but on the other side, we’ve had people get better and go off hospice. If they need it again, they can go back.”

Adamo pointed out that the CNAs do bathing and shampooing, and the chaplain provides comfort.

“Physical care gives physical relief to the caregivers,” Adamo said. “It’s for the patient, but it’s also for the whole family.”