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When the time comes

When the time comes

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Jason Bridie, West Des Moines, Care Initiatives Hospice (not-for-profit)

I’d like to take this opportunity to pass along best wishes to our partners in care in the long-term care, skilled nursing care, home care, medical clinic and hospital settings.

Just about every category mentioned has or is experiencing a special recognition day or week in this month of May. As hospice care providers, we work hand-in-hand with each of these care givers to provide the best possible end-of-life care to those in need.

While much of the healthcare news the past few months has been focused on COVID-19, the need for hospice care continues as it always has by those facing life limiting illness. Hospice providers are prepared to offer compassionate hospice care, COVID-19 or not.

Hospice care is covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurances. Hospice care isn’t just intended for the last 24-48 hours of life, as some may believe. A hospice order can be given if physicians agree a patient’s condition is terminal, defined as six months or less. Regardless of the amount of time needed, hospice care is a means of completing a quality life. In many cases it means gaining more of a quality life when a chronic health condition like COPD, liver disease, kidney disease or cancer has been terminally diagnosed and curative treatment is no longer wanted or available. When that decision is made, compassionate hospice providers can step in to work hand-in-hand with your own physician to meet your wishes based on an individualized care plan.

I’ve seen first-hand how hospice care helps not only the patient, but a patient’s family. Hospice helps patients and families understand the process. A physician, nurses, aides, social worker, volunteers, and bereavement or spiritual counselors make up the team to help everyone through the process. Hospice provides bereavement support to families up to 13 months after death. I highly recommend you discuss your end-of-life wishes with your family. Discuss which hospice service you’d like to use, they’re not all alike. There are for-profit hospices and not-for-profit hospices.

When the time comes, interview hospice agencies serving your area to learn more. When you’re ready ask by name for the hospice you’d like to use.

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