They come into lives as a last, new best friend, and we entrust our final days to them.
They have the wisdom of a sage and the heart of an angel — they are the nurses, social workers, chaplains and nursing aides who provide hospice care.
November is National Hospice Month. We at Regional Hospice and Home Care (RHHC) celebrate this designation, because it means that our country recognizes the importance of hospice care and the difference that specially trained hospice caregivers can make in families’ lives.
Hospice’s caregivers possess so much more beyond their credentials: They have a unique calling, a vocation to fill patients’ and families’ lives with joy, dignity and meaning that come from boundless empathy, compassion and clinical excellence.
They help a mother spending her final days at home to put words on paper for her young child to read in years to come. They bring a recluse together with people who have fallen away from his life. At our Center for Comfort Care & Healing, they are found offering trays of a patient’s favorite cookies and rehashing a World Series Game, hosting a family birthday party or honoring World War II heroes with medallions and a salute from the Commissioner of Veterans Affairs — hospice caregivers make important, joyful moments a part of life — because they mean the world to a patient — whose quality of life means the world to them.
Hospice care provides comfort and support to patients with life-limiting illness and their families. As of January 2016, Regional Hospice will be the only hospice in Connecticut selected to provide hospice care for Medicare patients, through a Medicare innovation model, who may choose to continue curative treatments. The phrase “…and their families” is a pivotal distinction between hospice and all other types of home and inpatient care, and many more families will now be able to benefit from care and family support of the clinical experts whose are the angels among us.
This month, I hope you will take a minute to thank a hospice caregiver. They are truly a gift to all of us; a last new friend whose profound compassion makes life even more precious for our patients and the people who love them. It is an honor and a privilege to work among our caregivers, hear their stories and meet families whose lives they impact so deeply.