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  • Donna Ricard

Why does Hospice have a bad rep?

Hospice began in London and Ireland to provide some type of care for terminally-ill patients in the 1960s. It didn't become a standard care in the United States until 1980. But so many people automatically associate it that with 'killing' their loved one and never hear that Hospice provides compassionate care.


Why is Hospice so important?: In many chronic, progressive diseases, such as cancer, dementia and heart disease, they reach an end of care and predictability. And at this point it may not look humane. At times loved ones are in pain, not able to control bodily functions and cognitive functioning is declined. Its symptoms become more intolerable and difficult to control. This is when Hospice CAN step in. (I say can, because most people are too afraid to call for help with Hospice when it's needed).


The main goal of hospice is to provide a peaceful, symptom-free, and dignified transition to death for patients whose diseases are advanced beyond a cure. The hope for a cure shifts to hope for a life free of suffering. The focus becomes quality of life rather than its length.


Hospice does not:

1. Hasten or prolong death

2. Kill a loved one

3. Torture a loved one

4. Prevent them from eating/drinking

5. Feed them pills to put them to sleep.


Hospice does:

1. Provides compassionate care

2. Reduce suffering

3. Provide pain-free comfort

4. Preserve the loved one's dignity

5. Provides complete care with doctors, nurses, social workers, clergy, aides, volunteers

6. The patient's wishes, values, and beliefs are taken into account and become the cornerstone of the hospice plan of care

7. Treats physical symptoms, counsels and guides the loved one and their family member

8. And then Hospice provides bereavement counseling a year later and even years later.


There are many different Hospice organizations. Reach out to your primary doctor for a referral if you think you are at this stage in life.


If you need more information, please call West Baton Rouge Council on Aging at 225-383-0638.


More information below:



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