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18th Nov

2016

Philosophy of Hospice

BEHIND HOSPICE CARE, behind all that it does, there lies an idea. It is a powerful and beautiful idea. It is that life, the whole of life, is sacred. In their minds people will often associate hospice with death. After all, hospice provides care for the terminally ill. But – and this is so important to understand – people who are terminally ill are still living. Hospice affirms life. It has as a goal that during the closing chapters of a person’s life there will be both dignity and quality of life. Hospice does not seek to shorten life nor extend it, but rather to help those final months and days be well-lived.

Before the emergence of modern hospice

It was common for medicine to “give up” on those dying from an incurable disease. After all, if there is no cure, what can medicine do? The reality, though, is that there is still a lot that modern medicine can do. It can do a great deal to relieve the pain and, maybe, some or all of the symptoms of those with a terminal condition.

It is the philosophy of hospice to embrace life. There are opportunities to assess one’s life, and to accept and to learn to be at peace with one’s limitations. For some this is a time to reflect deeply on the meaning of life and death – to think about and appreciate things on a deeper level. It can be a time to grow closer to one’s loved ones. Hospice supports the patient and the patient’s family in all of this.

A Holistic Philosophy

Hospice has a holistic philosophy in regard to patient care. It not only provides pain and symptom management, but also offers social, emotional and spiritual support to both the patient and family. For this reason, hospice takes an interdisciplinary approach to care, and involves an entire team consisting of not only medical professionals (doctors and nurses) but also a social worker and, if desired, a chaplain. Volunteers also can play a significant role in this team approach, helping the patient and family in many different ways.

Hospice provides care for the whole patient, and for the patient’s family. It does all that it does from a recognition that life is sacred. To put it another way, hospice recognizes that every life matters. Dame Cicely Saunders, the founder of modern hospice, put it this way:

“You matter because you are you, and you matter to the end of your life. We will do all we can not only to help you die peacefully, but also to live until you die.”

You matter. Such beautiful words! They are more than words, though. They are the heart, the soul, of hospice. We take care of you because we care about you. And we care about you because we believe that you matter.

This is the philosophy of hospice. It is a philosophy that we at Aberdeen Place Hospice live by. It is at the heart of all we do. You matter. You matter in so many ways. And if your life or the life of a loved one is drawing to a close, know that we care. Please give us a call at 678.878.3440. We can help.

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