I became President of Friends of Lewis County Hospice in February, 2022. This position is not new to me as I was President in 2010-2012.
I would like to write about “Waiting Too Long to Use Hospice Care.” I know this is not a comfortable topic to discuss with your loved one who is terminally ill. Waiting too long can actually make suffering at end-of-life worse. Many terminally ill people who near the end of life wait too long to enter hospice care. When you decide to no longer receive treatments hospice has a specialized team to help you manage your pain and suffering. Some of the services that hospice provides is pain management, nursing care, counseling, a social worker and chaplain for the whole family during the end-of-life journey with their loved one.
Health emergencies which require Emergency room visits or hospitalizations can become routine for your terminally ill relative. These situations can be both a stressful and a distressing experience for patients and their family members. Remaining in your own home, a safe and familiar place with hospice care, can offer better quality of life.
Hospice has been covered by Medicare since 1982. Healthcare providers have to confirm that a patient has 6 months or less to live, although that is very difficult to predict. People can leave hospice at any time because their condition stabilizes or they decide to pursue curative treatments. Hospice care can be extended past the 6 months, there really is no time limit on how long a patient is on hospice.
I know that having an honest conversation with patients and families about death and the dying process is not an easy one. Leaving the conversation until the very end makes it more difficult and may cause unnecessary pain and suffering. Our Lewis County Hospice caregivers are very compassionate team of professionals. I myself witnessed the special care of hospice services for both my mother and my father-in-law. Many of our board members have also had positive experiences with hospice when a loved one is terminally ill. I have learned that Hospice is more about quality of life than it is about death. We can’t change the outcome of their diagnosis, but we can affect the last journey that they have with making sure hospice is there to help sooner rather than later.
Friends of Lewis County Hospice is a non-profit organization made up of a 13-member board whose purpose is to support patients and their families during end of life care. We hold numerous fundraisers of all types throughout the year. We support and maintain the Community Hospice Garden in Memorial Park in Lowville; we help pay for Hospice patient care and services by providing funding for comfort care, meals, travel expenses and many other things that can lighten the burden of end of life care. Our goal is to help ensure that those in need, both the patients and their families, will have compassionate Hospice care available to them.
FOLCH advocates for quality end-of-life care and provides humanitarian and financial resources to the members of the Lewis County community facing the challenges that come with the end-of-life.
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Friends of Lewis County Hospice
PO Box 266
Lowville, NY 13367