Letter: The important role of hospice and palliative care

Letter to the Editor

Because November is Hospice and Palliative Care Month, I’d like to share what end-of-life care looks like through a few hospice professionals’ eyes:

Nurse Jenny: “We’re here to help you live the remainder of your life on your terms, and no one else’s. We provide education and options to choose from to enhance quality of life. This is YOUR journey, and we are here to help you make the most of it.”

Nurse Heather: “We accept people for who they are and never judge them. We have gratitude for patient and family lives, and we strive to make the rest of each patient’s life the highest quality. Patient goals are our priority.”

Hospice Chaplain Cindy: “Regardless of someone’s religion or faith preferences, my job is to be present and to offer spiritual comfort in whatever manner is best for the patient and their family. I am honored to meet my patients where they are on their journeys.”

These are sample reflections from hospice professionals. This is what end of life care looks like to them. If you faced a life limiting illness, what would end of life care and support look like to you? What do you need from your loved ones?

This month we encourage you to reflect on what’s important to you, then to document your end-of-life preferences through advance care planning and talk with your physicians, family, and friends. These courageous conversations increase the likelihood of a better end-of-life experience.

Aimee Dougherty, MSN RN AMB-BC, is DeKalb Team Lead for Northern Illinois Hospice. The organization introduced end-of-life care to Northern Illinois nearly 45 years ago and was one of the first fifty hospices in the United States.