November is Hospice & Palliative Care Month (read Governor Scott’s proclamation) and a great time to learn more about the wonderful services hospice and palliative care provides patients and families.
What is hospice and palliative care? Hospice and palliative care regards dying as a natural process. The goal of hospice and palliative care is to achieve the best possible quality of life through coordinating and/or managing the Plan of Care with goals to: relieve suffering, and control symptoms, and while remaining sensitive to personal, cultural and religious values, beliefs and practices.
Four take aways about hospice and palliative care:
- To be eligible for hospice, a patient must have a life-limiting terminal illness that puts their life expectancy within six months or less. Palliative care can offer some of the same types of services that hospice does, but it is provided to anyone, no matter the diagnosis or life expectancy.
- Hospice is a supportive service, meaning it is up to the family to provide the majority of day-to-day care. Hospice supports the family in various ways which may include end-of life education, therapy, grief counseling, and volunteer services. There are four levels of that will provide service additional care as the patient is eligible.
- Hospice can be provided anywhere the patient considers home. This could be a family member’s home or a nursing home, anywhere the patient resides. Though currently not as widely available as hospice, palliative care may be found in a variety of forms including hospital consultations, clinics, Home Health, and doctor offices.
- The sooner hospice and palliative care are elected, the more benefit a patient and their family will receive. Research has proven a patient’s condition often improves once their physical and psychosocial pain are managed. Hospice offers a wide variety of services that allows a person quality days at the end of life. However, these services can only be fully realized if started early, not just in the last few days when a patient is in the most critical condition.
How can you support hospice and palliative care in Florida?
There are numerous ways you can support the mission and services of hospice and palliative care. You could volunteer at a hospice program, donate to a program in your area, donate to FHPCA, or purchase the Hospice Specialty License Plate.
About the Specialty Hospice License Plate:
When you purchase a license plate, $25 a year goes a long way by providing support towards the following:
- Programs related to hospice, including a new model of care for very ill children, and improving and increasing access to end-of-life care for Florida’s veterans.
- Education and outreach for hospice volunteers, patients, families, and healthcare professionals
- Free Advance Directives and educational materials for the public
- A toll-free Consumer Help Line
- Florida Hospice & Palliative Care Association’s website
Florida Hospice & Palliative Care Association (FHPCA) is a not-for-profit, IRS Section 501(c)(3) organization representing hospice patients and families, hospice professionals and hospice providers. FHPCA strives to assure excellence in, and expand access to, hospice and palliative care, and advocates for the needs of those in the final stages of life. One of the ways we are able to accomplish our mission is through the sales of the Specialty Hospice License Plate. Visit HERE for more information or to purchase your plate.