You may not think about hospice care until a family member is in need. But as part of National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, here’s some important information about hospice that can help you now or in the future.
What is Hospice?
Hospice is defined as a multi-disciplinary approach to end of life care. Hospice provides a team of people to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of a patient and his or her family.
“We have our doctors, nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, chaplains, home health aides and a team of volunteers to help patients and their families,” says Amanda Goodrich, Volunteer Coordinator for Torrance Memorial’s Hospice and Bereavement Palliative Care Program. “Our mission is to preserve and improve the quality of life for the patient and help their loved ones as well.”
Who Qualifies for Hospice?
Hospice can help patients of all ages, backgrounds and diagnoses of life-limiting illness. The term “hospice” is actually from medieval times. Back then it referred to a shelter for weary travelers. It was first applied to provide compassionate care to terminally ill patients in 1948 by British physician Dame Cicely Saunders.
“We recognize that dying is a normal process of living,” says Amanda. “Our program creates an individual plan of care for each patient based on their specific needs. We’ve found, and studies have confirmed, that patients find comfort and are more comfortable with hospice care.”
Hospice Isn’t Just for Patients
Besides providing medical care and palliative, or comfort care measures, to patients, hospice helps families in ways many people are unaware of.
“Our volunteers can provide limited respite care so a family member or caregiver can take some much needed time off for themselves. Volunteers can also provide transportation or make a run to the grocery store,” says Amanda. “Most important, we have a bereavement program that is facilitated by a bereavement coordinator who is assisted by trained bereavement volunteers. Together, they help provide support to surviving family members.”
For more information on Torrance Memorial’s Hospice and Bereavement Program call 310-784-3751.