Why Doctors Recommend Hospice Care During Serious Illness

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Sponsored - The following content is created on behalf of Unity Hospice and does not reflect the opinions of Gray Media or its editorial staff. To learn more about Unity Hospice, visit unityhospice.org

Hospice care is a difficult subject to discuss. More often than not, fear and denial of our own mortality hinders conversation about our wishes for end-of-life care. There is a misconception that hospice is a 6 month death sentence. The mention of it can produce overwhelming feelings of sadness. The reality, though, is Unity Hospice is transforming what hospice looks like for patients and families in NE Wisconsin. We asked Amy James, MD, Medical Director from Unity Hospice, a simple question: Why Hospice, Why now?

“Hospice is specialized care for those facing life-limiting illness and their family,” says Dr. James. “Hospice maximizes quality of life, ensuring the patient experiences a dignified and pain-free death, surrounded by compassion and the best medical, emotional and spiritual support available. Receiving hospice care certainly does not mean death is imminent.”

For patients who are appropriate for hospice, the earlier they begin care tremendously impacts their quality of life. “There is so much more opportunity to stabilize a patient’s medical condition and address the holistic needs of the entire family when services are provided for several months,” expressed Dr. James. “In fact, research studies show those with a terminal illness who choose hospice care tend to live longer and have better quality of life than those who choose conventional end-of-life medical care.”

Unity Hospice’s approach to care is centered around the wishes and goals of the patient and the entire family, focusing as much on the grieving family as on the dying patient. A care team consisting of a nurse, social worker, certified nursing assistant, chaplain and grief counselor is assigned to each family. Throughout the hospice journey, they continually offer emotional and spiritual support to all. The team makes home visits as needed 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

“Hospice is certainly NOT giving up hope. It’s about embracing the time you have left and living to the fullest,” says Dr. James. “As a community, we must all embrace the fact that life is finite and certain conditions are simply not curable. This is reality, not defeat. Initiating end-of-life discussions can actually provide relief. Helping redefine hope takes the focus off of the disease and onto being comfortable and spending quality time with those we love.”

So why Hospice? Why now? “Because although hospice may not change the outcome it WILL transform the end-of-life journey,” says Dr. James. “Hospice adds life to days when we can’t add days to life. "

Unity Hospice eases the pain and emotional stress for patients and their caregivers while ensuring a better quality of remaining life. Services are for those with a life-limiting illness who are expected to live six months or less and are seeking comfort care. Additionally, services extend to provide guidance and support to patients, families and caregivers.

You do not need a referral from a doctor to contact Unity. The sooner you seek assistance, the longer the patient and family benefit from the full range of services Unity offers. If you have questions or have observed signs hospice care may be appropriate for a loved one please contact Unity Hospice at 920-338-1111. Hospice care is fully covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance plans.

Unity Hospice delivers strength, compassion and support.