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BUFFALO HEALTHY LIVING: Celebrating Hospice and Palliative Care Month

BUFFALO HEALTHY LIVING

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. -- November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month and hospice and palliative care programs across the country are reaching out to offer community education about the benefits. Understanding there are many misconceptions about hospice and palliative care, The Center for Hospice & Palliative Care (Hospice Buffalo) is launching #KnowUsB4UneedUs this month – hoping you take a moment to learn about healthcare options before a crisis happens.

Hospice is a philosophy of care — a compassionate approach that seeks to help people with serious illness live life fully, maintain their dignity, and ensure their quality of life is the best it can possibly be. Often described as "comfort-focused medical care," hospice experts focus on the management of physical symptoms while providing social support, and emotional and spiritual guidance for patients and families. Hospice is also a health care benefit — an entitlement for those faced with life-limiting illness and a prognosis of six months or less.

Palliative care is appropriate at any age and any stage of illness. When a patient faces challenges associated with chronic disease and side effects from treatments, palliative care team assists with pain and symptom management, advance care planning, emotional needs, and will connect you with beneficial resources.

In recent months, a number of notable Americans have died, including Senator John McCain, Aretha Franklin and Barbara Bush. In many media reports, they were described as having "given up" on curative care late in their lives. Ms. Franklin opted for hospice care; Mrs. Bush received what was described as "comfort care."

"It is essential for people to understand that hospice is not 'giving up' — it is not the abandonment of care, but truly the most comprehensive type of care available, and it's 100% covered by Medicare," said Dr. Christopher Kerr, CEO & CMO of The Center for Hospice & Palliative Care. "Hospice and palliative care are successful models of care that is person-centered and seeks to control symptoms while bringing peace, dignity and compassion. But too often we hear 'I wish we would have called sooner.' This is why we are launching #KnowUsB4UneedUs campaign. Our teams have made a valiant effort to collaborate with dozens of local organizations where we can educate the community about the benefits of seeking palliative and hospice care earlier in the diagnosis."

Take a moment to get to "know us before you need us" at a November Community Outreach event, register for the Grief & the Holidays program, or just stop by the Mitchell Campus in Cheektowaga anytime to understand how hospice and palliative care can make a difference in quality of life. Learn more about hospice, palliative care, and advance care planning at HospiceBuffalo.com.  Schedule a free in-home consultation or request a speaker for your group, email Outreach@PalliativeCare.org or call Lynn Riker, Director of Outreach, (716) 901-0294.

The Center for Hospice & Palliative Care (CHPC) provides care, support, advocacy and education to people in Erie County impacted by serious illness and loss, regardless of age, setting, diagnosis, and ability to pay. CHPC is one of the largest non-profit hospice and palliative care organizations in the nation, serving nearly 1000 patients every day in homes, nursing homes and assisted living facilities throughout Erie County, as well as the Hospice Inpatient Unit in Cheektowaga, NY.

Originally posted by Buffalo Healthy Living Magazine . Republished with permission.