Don’t wait to call hospice: we can help sooner than you think


What makes a good death? This is a question people don’t want to think about. The answer can vary from person to person. However, for most people, a good death is quite simple. It means being physically comfortable, at peace in your own home, surrounded by your loved ones doing the things you love to do up until the very end. These essential details are made possible by hospice care.

‘Hospice supports living life to the fullest regardless of how much time remains’

Hospice is a team-oriented approach to providing specialized care for people facing a life-limiting illness or injury. It includes expert medical care, pain management and emotional support for patients and their families. But more simply, hospice care supports living one’s life to the fullest with dignity regardless of how much time remains.

‘Most West Virginians want to die at home and with hospice that’s possible’

Three-quarters of West Virginians say they would prefer to die at home or in an inpatient hospice according to a West Virginia Center for End-of-life Care Poll. However, most people continue to die in hospitals. In a national survey, the overwhelming majority of respondents agreed that expertise in keeping a terminally-ill patient as comfortable and as pain-free as possible is the single most important service to consider when caring for a loved one at end-of-life. This is the essence of hospice care.

‘Hospice improves quality of life for patients and families’

One of the great myths of hospice is that hospice patients are merely lying in a bed, barely conscious. This is not the case. When a patient is referred at the appropriate time, hospice care can improve his or her quality of life. Nearly three-quarters of family caregivers agree that hospice care is a better choice for a terminally ill patient. Of this group, 69 percent believe that involvement in hospice makes a better impact on the patient’s family as well.

‘Hospice helps you take control’

Another hospice myth is that families lose control over what happens to their loved ones. The facts are that a family can be trained to serve as a primary caregiver by the hospice team with specialist support available when needed. It is the unique nature of hospice that allows for the feeling of family and comfort to become embedded and vital in the patient’s care. This concept of more family interaction explains the overall goal of hospice - creating more moments of life before a life is over.

‘Hospice makes meaningful moments possible’

Hospice enables moments and memories that would otherwise not occur. It is the quality of these final moments, after all, that can define a “good death.” It’s never too soon to talk to your loved one with advanced illness about hospice. Click here to find a hospice in your area.

Adapted for West Virginia from an NHPCO Outreach Article