The West Coast is finding itself with an increased need for palliative care services and provider agencies.
California has set up an initiative designed to better explain, advise, and guide residents who need end-of-life care and the families that are helping to guide them through what is likely a new world for them.
The Let’s Get Healthy California initiative answers legions of questions about hospice and palliative care and is a wealth of information on the closely related subjects. One of the most respected agencies supporting the initiative and advising the governing bodies is Good Heart Hospice.
The top-rated agency has always taken a slightly different approach to the hospice industry. Instead of numbers, stats, and filling beds, they come from a human-first perspective.
Their main concerns are the mental health of their clients and staff, end-of-life dignity, empathetic services, and improved public awareness on these subjects. With input from their large, well-educated staff of administrators, nurses, and chaplains, and are able to offer a host of helpful answers and advice to the state program.
The California state program aims to increase awareness of palliative care and elevate the offerings across the large state. The program’s first data reporting — collected in 2010 — returned that just 39% of Californians with end-of-life needs utilized hospice agency services. A few years later, in 2014, the second batch of data revealed the figure had jumped to 43.3%. It is predicted that Good Heart Hospice should be leading the pack in increasing that figure to more than the halfway mark to land at 54% by the end of this year.
Here, they answer some leading questions about choosing palliative care agencies and services.
Difference Between Hospice and Palliative Care
This is often the first question by seniors or those supporting a loved one seeking end-of-life care. Though both offer services for those — senior or otherwise — with terminal illnesses, they differ significantly after that point. And this is where people are often confused.
Hospice care is sought when a person has no chance of survival and is no longer seeking active treatments or any potential recovery. Instead, it focuses on pain management for the physical body and spiritual and mental services provided by therapists, chaplains, and other mental health workers.
“Palliative care is something in between hospital treatment and hospice care. It is provided in a comfortable, non-hospital setting for those with terminal illnesses who are continuing to seek medical treatment that might keep the illness at bay for as long as possible in a way that relieves symptoms most,” said (Patrick) Thona, co-founder of Good Heart Hospice.
Why Choose Palliative Care?
Though hospice and palliative care both aim to relieve symptoms as much as possible, many with a more extended terminal diagnosis, such as more than six months to several years, should opt for the palliative care that keeps them en route to any potential improvements or life-lengthening procedures.
Palliative care is a good choice for specific cancer diagnoses and can enhance the quality of life while also treating the illness. It’s also a good choice for those with dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and heart failure.
“What many people don’t realize about palliative care is that it can begin soon after diagnosis. So it’s not necessary to wait months or years,” said Good Heart Hospice co-founder (Maya) Thona.
Another beneficial aspect of palliative care is education and guidance for patients. In addition to increased quality of life, comfort, dignity, and ongoing medical treatment, palliative care involve opportunities to sit and talk in detail with workers about the pros and cons of various treatments and options and gain a deeper understanding of what they are going through.
This lesser-known aspect is especially beneficial to older patients and those that might be suffering from any loss of mental facility.
With time and education, the Let’s Get Healthy California initiative should increase awareness of some of the often misunderstood differences between hospice and palliative care.
The palliative care field across California is growing steadily, and Good Heart Hospice is helping to guide the area to ever elevated services and care for the state’s terminally ill residents.
About Good Heart Hospice & Palliative Care
Good Heart Hospice & Palliative Care is dedicated to providing you with dignified care that promotes quality of life, comfort, and convenience. We respect your personal healthcare and treatment decisions and strive to support you and your family. Good Heart Hospice focuses on maximizing comfort, reducing suffering, and allowing individuals to maintain their dignity. For more information, please visit https://goodhearthospice.com/