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Hospice…Palliative… what do those words even mean?

As our first topic, I thought it would be nice to start with the basics, or maybe not so basic after all. Most people have no idea what hospice and palliative mean.  I’m going to break it down for you. Hospice-comes for the word “hospitality.”  The use is dated back to medieval times. “Come stay at my house and I’ll take care of you” philosophy for ill-travelers.  Hospice care officially originated in Europe. Now, hospice care has spread and can be anywhere a patient calls home. What does the word mean now?  It means that you or a loved one are no longer seeking active treated to cure and treatment is for the things we can control.  I get calls every day with specific questions about what a patient can do and what can they not do.  The bottom line is that if treatments were given, will this disease go away?  Can I receive breathing treatments?  Yes.  Can I receive radiation?  Yes. Can I go to the eye doctor or dentist?  Yes, and yes! Hospice is free and everyone who meets eligibility can receive care, insured, uninsured, young and mature.  Does your doctor have to recommend hospice?  No, they don’t.  Matter of fact, most doctors are afraid of the word hospice like many of us.  It is taboo.  “If I say hospice then it may make someone die sooner.”  WRONG.  Hospice patients live longer.  WHY?  Because we are treating things we can help with and there is support like when doctors made house calls.  Hospice is a great thing.  What does hospice include?  A complete medical team to include...