The Hospice Alternative

Posted by  //  February 19, 2014  //  Articles

Serious illness changes the lives of both those afflicted by it and their loved ones.  Families struggle to absorb the initial shock then hunker down in an attempt to cope with what comes next.  All segments of the population are affected but seniors are at greater risk.  Many find themselves confronting the most difficult decisions of their lives with little knowledge or preparation at a time when their resources are limited and their support systems have shrunk or are scattered.

Treatment choices may be limited: by insurance, finances, living circumstances or a multitude of other factors.  Even available options may be confusing to stressed consumers, faced with volumes of complex, conflicting information.  And while conventional care may be the appropriate course for many, it may not be the best for some – especially when cure is no longer an option.

Hospice represents an alternative in such situations – one that combines pain management with other services designed to help patients with limited time left make the most of it, by focusing on the quality of their lives rather than the quantity.  As part of this emphasis on quality, the Hospice team involves the patient’s family.  By supporting the patient’s support system – with knowledge, relief and positive perspective – Hospice providers extend their own effectiveness and dramatically reduce the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness that contribute to energy sapping depression.  The fact that patients need not be admitted to a hospital or nursing home to receive services and that they are normally available at little or no cost to the patient or their family, are additional pluses.

Whether you, a family member or a loved one are currently struggling with serious illness or concerned about the prospect of being in that situation in the future, learning more about Hospice puts you in a better position to make informed choices or offer helpful support.  Doing so also creates opportunities to talk about topics that are important to address but difficult to broach.  Hospice is there to help.  More information is only a click, phone call or visit away. www.cortlandhospice.org 607-753-9105

By Frank Kelly
Frank Kelly is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist & Cortland Hospice Foundation Board member

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