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Utah Hospice Care; Helping People LIVE Until They Die

Jul 16, 2008
"We will do all we can, not only to help you die peacefully, but also to live until you die". --Dame Cicely Saunders

In 1967 Dame Cicely Saunders at St. Christopher's Hospice in London first applied the term "hospice" to specialized care for terminally ill and dying patients. Today, hospice care provides humane and compassionate care for people in the last phases of incurable disease so that they may live as fully and comfortably as possible in the time they have left.

Hospice is a philosophy of care. The Utah hospice care philosophy or viewpoint accepts death as the final stage of life, and the inevitable end of long term illness. The goal of Utah hospice care is to enable patients to enjoy an alert, pain-free life and to manage other symptoms so that their last days may be spent with dignity and quality, surrounded by loved ones. Utah hospice care affirms life and neither hastens or postpones death.

Utah hospice care treats the person rather than the disease; it focuses on the quality rather than the length of life. It provides family-centered care and involves the patient and the family in making decisions. Care is provided for the patient and family 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Utah hospice care can be given in the patient's home, a hospital, nursing home, or private hospice facility. Most hospice care in the United States is given in the home, with a family member or members serving as the main hands-on caregiver.

Utah hospice care is suitable for individuals who no longer benefit from cancer, or other exhausting illness treatments and are expected to live 6 months or less. Hospice offers individuals palliative care, which is treatment to help relieve cancer or other illness-related symptoms, but not cure the disease; its main purpose is to improve the quality of life. You, your family, and your doctor decide together when Utah hospice care should begin.

One of the main problems facing hospice is that it is often not started soon enough. Sometimes the doctor, patient, or family member will resist hospice because he or she feels it sends a message of no hope of recovery. This is not true, if the patient gets better or the disease goes into remission, he or she can be taken out of the hospice program and go into active cancer treatment. The patient can re initiate Utah hospice care at a later time, if needed.

The hope that hospice brings is the hope of a quality life, making the best of each day during the last stages of advanced illness.
About the Author
First Choice Home Health & Hospice (http://fchhh.com/) offers Utah hospice care to cancer patients in the final stages of their illness. The author Art Gib is a freelance writer.
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