Hospice of the Carolina Foothills: A continuum of care

Published 2:14 pm Wednesday, November 17, 2010

November is National Hospice/Palliative Care Month, a time when hospices around the nation celebrate the unique and specialized care provided by nearly 5,000 hospices.

Hospice of the Carolina Foothills is joining in the celebration as we anticipate next years anniversary of 30 years of service to the Foothills community. How much we have learned about how to serve you better in those three decades!

HoCF was founded on a desire to meet the needs of people (and their families) in the last months of life. In the early days of hospice, time and attention was focused on learning as much as possible about disease processes, pain management, volunteer utilization, and all of those things that are the foundation of hospice care. The public had a knowledge deficit about the need for such a service and how it all worked.

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After 30 years of expertly and faithfully caring for our community with involvement by so many volunteers and donors the deficit has been corrected. Hospice is clearly viewed as the expert provider of end-of-life care.

However, the end of life is really a continuum within a continuum. The series of life events, from birth to death, ends when a person dies. But the recognized end of life for some people can be spread over several months to several years. Some of these people can clearly be served by Hospice, or in our Hospice House, as their illness becomes terminal and they take advantage of hospice care.

Other people deal with serious illnesses that progress gradually, over years. They may spend of lot of their time experiencing pain or other distressing symptoms, making the best decisions they can about their goals of care, traveling to and from appointments, and trying to make sense of it all.

That is when Palliative Care of the Carolina Foothills can help. Palliative (p-lee-uh-tive) care is provided as a service of HoCF at the beginning of the end-of-life continuum. The knowledge and expertise of our skilled and qualified specialists is provided through special arrangements with St. Lukes Hospital and 11 area nursing and assisted living facilities: Tryon Estates, Ridge Rest, Autumn Care in Saluda, White Oak of Tryon, LaurelWoods, Magnolia Manor, Camp Care, Golden Age and Inman Health Care. It is also available to people in private residences who are referred by their family physician or disease-specific specialist.

And so, after many years of teaching people about hospice, our focus has expanded to respond to the increased curiosity about palliative care. I recently received an invitation to speak to a womens group at a local church. It was delightful to hear, We already know and understand what hospice care is; can you tell us about palliative care?

From the beginning of the continuum palliative care beyond the end of the continuum bereavement care HoCF stands ready to serve.

During this National Hospice/Palliative Care Month 2010, I hope you have the opportunity to learn more about our services. And also to say thank you to one or more of our incredible Hospice and Palliative Care staff members: a physician, a nurse practitioner, 25 nurses, 17 CNAs, 7 social workers, a chaplain, and a bereavement counselor, and a couple dozen administrative staff who provide various support services. Offer a pat on the back to any of our 240 volunteers and 15 board members. Let Hospice and Palliative Care staff and volunteers know that you recognize the important work that they do and that you are proud of your hospice, Hospice of the Carolina Foothills.

Remember, you can take advantage of our services any month and every day of the year.&bsp; We are a phone call away. For hospice and bereavement care in North Carolina, call 828-894-7000. For such care in South Carolina, call 864-457-9122. For information about Palliative Care, call 828-894-7016; Hospice House information is available at 864-457-9100.