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The first of November marks the start of National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, and this year’s theme is ‘Hospice and Palliative Care Faces of Caring.’ This theme incorporates NHPCO’s Faces of Caring campaign that was launched in March of 2020 in response to the COVID-19 health care crisis, which emphasizes that ‘even despite a global pandemic, hospice and community-based palliative care providers step up to the challenges they face to ensure their communities get the care they need and deserve.’
Although hospice and palliative care often go hand in hand, they are not the same. Palliative care is care that is provided for someone who is living with a chronic condition, such as heart failure, cancer, or dementia. It can be provided at any stage of an illness and alongside curative treatment with a goal to improve the quality of life and help the patient to understand their treatment options. Hospice is a philosophy of care that is provided to patients who are expected to live a short time, typically six months or less. The purpose of hospice is to keep the patient comfortable in their final days.
For the last 40 plus years, hospice has been helping provide millions of people with the comfort and dignity needed to spend their final moments surrounded by loved ones in the place they call home. Hospice care involves many components including pain management, emotional and spiritual support, and advice to help family members feel confident as caregivers and to adjust to the future with grief support.
This November – as we celebrate National Hospice and Palliative Care Month – join us by recognizing the compassionate individuals who work so diligently to provide exceptional patient care.