Each of us at some point in our life will be faced with a life limiting illness, either personally or facing the death of a loved one. There is an incredible resource in this community that provides comfort, dignity and respect to all those coping with a serious or life-limiting illness. It’s Hospice of the Southwest.

November is National Hospice Palliative Care Month, a time to reach out to our community to raise awareness about the compassionate care that hospice and palliative care provide.

One of the most important messages to help people understand, is that hospice and palliative care helps patients and families focus on living. It is also important to understand that hospice is not a place, but a special kind of care.

Our team of hospice and palliative care professionals — including physicians, nurses, social workers, therapists, counselors, health aides, and clergy — provide comprehensive and compassionate care that make the wishes of each patient and family a priority.

Hospice of the Southwest encourages and assists patients to live fully, up until their final moments, surrounded and supported by loved ones, friends, and committed caregivers. This is achieved through pain management, symptom control, caregiver training and assistance, and emotional and spiritual support.

The Hospice benefit is covered by Medicare, Medicaid in most states, and by most insurance plans and HMOs. Care is available in-home, within long-term care facilities, or provided in our inpatient care locations in the event where intensive symptom management is required.

We are proud members of the communities in which we serve and are humbled by our work assisting hundreds of local patients and their families, since opening our doors in 2004. We also take great pride in our practice of welcoming and accommodating patients regardless of their ability to pay.

If you or a loved one is facing a serious or life-limiting illness, the time to find out more about hospice and palliative care is right now. For more information on Hospice of the Southwest, call (480) 456-9300 or visit www.hospiceofthesouthwest.com. We are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions.

• Leslie Cooper, RN, is patient care administrator for Hospice of the Southwest.

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