We Wish We Had Heard About Hospice Sooner

Time after time, spouses and families tell us we wished we had heard about Hospice sooner. Why aren’t people hearing about Hospice in time?

It must be one of the best kept secrets in healthcare: an amazing team of compassionate and skilled care providers all paid for by Medicare, Medicaid or insurance. Locally, if those resources are not available, then the Skagit Hospice Foundation can supplement the care. There should be no financial barrier to receiving hospice care from Skagit Hospice Services on Skagit, Island, San Juan or Snohomish Counties.

When Hospice services are requested, a team of professionals trained and educated in hospice and palliative care, begin their special work. They support the person with a life-threatening disease from the time they begin to have intensive care needs, all the way through the end-of-life. Hospice provides this support with doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains, aides, volunteers and bereavement services. This holistic, interdisciplinary approach to the end-of-life takes into account all types of concerns: physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, relational, financial, and practical. Skagit Hospice Services provides all of this, and with it comes an enormous sense of confidence through a process that can be otherwise overwhelming for all involved.

Knowing how comprehensive Hospice care can be, again begs the original question, why are we not calling Hospice sooner? Unfortunately people think of this step as giving up, when actually studies show the opposite, patients usually live longer. You can find this and more about Hospice care on the internet, www.skagithospice.org, or by calling Skagit Hospice Services. They can provide information over the phone, mail it, or better yet, Hospice staff will come and visit to answer your questions in person. Your doctor does not have to make the initial call, and can work collaboratively with the Hospice staff to co-manage care once it begins.

Often times, people fear that the timeframe to use Hospice within is only six months. The truth is there is no limit to the time a person can receive Hospice care, as long as they remain medically eligible. When qualified, people can remain on Hospice for years. Unfortunately, more frequent than not, people receive Hospice for days instead of weeks, months, or years.  The amazing work of Skagit Hospice Services is more beneficial if it is used for more than just a few days. However, if one only has days, the Hospice staff is still able to provide an unanticipated and appreciated level of comfort and support, to the patient and their loved ones.

People have shared how unbelievably difficult making the initial call to Hospice is, but later revealed how relieved they were once they met with the Hospice staff. It is conceivable that most of us know a person who is Hospice eligible, yet not receiving care and afraid to call. Increased hospitalizations, weight loss, infections, and less ability to accomplish the activities of daily living (eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, walking) are things to look for as signs for increased care needs. Call for a friend and the Hospice staff will be happy to evaluate medical eligibility either in person, or via their doctor.

Skagit Hospice Services is changing their name to Hospice of the Northwest, to embrace all communities served: Skagit, San Juan, Island, and Snohomish Counties. Skagit Hospice Services and the Skagit Hospice Foundation are working together to expand services, by developing plans for a Hospice House. This expansion will help to better serve this community. Within the next few years, not only will care be provided in peoples homes, skilled nursing, assisted living, retirement, and adult family home facilities, but also in a unique facility designed for hospice care.