Considering Comfort Care

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Even with progresses in medical technology and care, the fact remains that our bodies do not live forever. In each person’s life there comes a time when our bodies begin to fail, whether due to natural progression of age or a chronic illness. This may be a time when you and your family are faced with making difficult decisions about your healthcare. Your physician may even recommend that you consider other options such as comfort care.

Feelings of being overwhelmed, scared and helpless are common with this transition. To acknowledge failing health can feel like “giving up” and to realize that curative treatments are no longer beneficial is devastating. We want to “stay strong,” “have faith,” and “keep fighting” for a cure even if the disease becomes “terminal” or “end stage.” Refusing to acknowledge the situation – even in the name of hope – won’t change anything. A place to turn for guidance at this time may be your doctor, your clergy or a local hospice organization.

Comfort care is not about giving up; it is about focusing on comfort and quality of life rather than treatments and procedures that are no longer helpful. Comfort care is about receiving the help, relief, medical care and emotional support you need. Comfort care is putting our energy, hopes and actions toward quality of life and living comfortably in a manner we choose.

Often, when a loved one is ill we want to “do something.” We seek out new doctors and we search for different treatment options. The risk in denying that our loved one has entered this phase of life is that we may be so busy “doing something” that we run out of time for doing and saying the things we will want to remember. We deny ourselves the reassurance and support that is needed at this time and delay receiving the physical relief that comes through comfort care.

Choosing comfort care is a very loving, but difficult decision and you may be wondering where you can receive this type of care. You can receive comfort care through your local hospice organization, a team of professionals who are specially trained to understand the unique needs you may have. You can receive this care in your home, whether your home is an assisted living or nursing facility or you live in your own home. Hospice care focuses on meeting the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of their patients and families. The hospice team consists of nurses, social workers, chaplains, home health aides, therapists, volunteers and physicians. In addition to regularly scheduled visits, hospice will be available for consultations, emotional support and visits for emergencies around the clock.

Hospice services are covered by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance. If a person does not have insurance, hospice support is still available. A hospice social worker is available to help with financial concerns.

Since 2006, Lutheran Sunset Ministries has provided hospice services to Bosque and surrounding counties within a 30 mile radius of Clifton.  Hospice Sunset has been proud to have served more than 400 families during the past nine years and is the only hospice located in Bosque County. As a faith-based ministry, the Hospice Sunset staff believes providing comfort care is a call to serve those in need.

If you or a loved one has the need for comfort care, a Hospice Sunset representative is always available to answer your questions, without obligation. You do not need a doctor’s order to contact a hospice to ask questions. You may contact a Hospice Sunset representative at 254.675.3391 to ask questions or schedule an information visit.

Article by Michele Lloyd, Hospice Sunset administrator.

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