Hospice care helps families to cope

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I am writing in response to your Jan. 20 story “Hospice Care Here Bucks National Norm.” On behalf of the more than 100 hospice providers represented by the Pennsylvania Homecare Association, I want to thank you for shining a light on this unique care that specializes in offering sophisticated methods of pain and symptom management, allowing patients at the end of life to live fully and comfortably.

Hospice treats the whole person, not just the disease, by addressing the patient’s, as well as their family’s, medical, emotional, psychological and spiritual needs, often in the comfort of one’s own home. Research shows that hospice care not only improves quality of life, but it also saves money for Medicare by reducing costly hospital admissions, re-admissions and intensive care use.

I agree with the statement in your article that many people wait too long to elect hospice services and therefore don’t gain the full advantage of the help that hospice can provide. For many years, we in the home care and hospice industry have seen through first-hand experience that the interdisciplinary care provided to patients and family caregivers coping with life-limiting illnesses allows people to focus on living as fully as possible even at the end of life. It is our hope that, through studies like the University of Pittsburgh’s and coverage like yours, patients and the broader health care community will more fully understand the many benefits of hospice care.

Pennsylvania Homecare Association
Lemoyne, Pa.

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