Tahoe Forest Health System raises awareness during Hospice and Palliative Care month

Special to the Sun

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; November marks an important time nationwide to remind people Hospice and Palliative Care focus on living and maintaining quality of life. Tahoe Forest Health System (TFHS) emphasizes this message during National Hospice and Palliative Care Awareness Month.

Coping with a serious or life-limiting illness may be one of the most difficult struggles a person faces in his/her lifetime. In addition to caring for oneself, patients find themselves working more closely with doctors and hospitals; learning to navigate the maze of care needs; figuring out insurance coverage, all while taking care of a family. These tasks can be overwhelming for a person struggling with a serious illness. Tahoe Forest Health System advises there are numerous options for patients and families to receive support.

Here are some facts to know about hospice services:

Hospice is not a place. Hospice services provides high-quality medical care that helps the patient, caregivers and family members focus on the quality of life at the end of life.

Hospice offers expertise in comfort care assuring the patient state-of-the-art pain control and symptom management.

The healthcare team works cooperatively with the patient, family and primary physician to customize a plan of care to meet individual needs.

Hospice care addresses the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the patient. This support extends to family and friends to help cope with unique concerns during a difficult time.

Hospice staff is available for support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Hospice volunteers are available to assist patients and family members with a variety of needs.

Hospice offers on-going grief support services to family members as well as community members who have endured the loss of a loved one.

and#8220;Thereand#8217;s an inaccurate perception among the American public that hospice means youand#8217;ve given up,and#8221; said J. Donald Schumacher, president and CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. and#8220;Those of us who have worked in the field have seen firsthand how hospice and palliative care can improve the quality of life. And thereand#8217;s a growing body of research showing that hospice and palliative care may prolong the lives of some people who receive care.and#8221;

Hospice volunteers are always in need to assist patients and their family members by providing respites for the primary caregiver. Volunteers will have flexible hours.

and#8220;At Tahoe Forest, hospice and palliative care physicians take the time to talk with patients and their families to help them to better understand their illness and to offer care options that are available,and#8221; said Stephanie Hanson, administrator of Hospice and Home Health for TFHS.

Paula McAlavey, a Tahoe Forest Health System Hospice Volunteer, recently arranged for the painting of the Hospice Bereavement and Volunteer Center, 10083 Lake Ave., Truckee, next to the Hospice garden. The painting of the facility came alive thanks to volunteers and donors. Painter Angel Garcia of Angeland#8217;s Service at the Lake, Incline Village, Nev., volunteered to stain and paint the house. Howard Jones, owner of Ace Mountain Hardware and Sports in Truckee, donated the stain, paint and painting supplies.

The Tahoe Forest Health System Hospice Bereavement and Volunteer center is located at 10083 Lake Ave., is typically open 10 a.m.-2 p.m., depending upon staffing. The Center houses a library of books with topics ranging from and#8220;How to talk to your child when a pet diesand#8221; to and#8220;Taking care of patients who have dementia.and#8221; Please call 530-582-3534 ahead to a make sure a staff member or volunteer is onsite.

Tahoe Forest Hospice is a licensed and Medicare certified program serving patients in the Truckee/Tahoe area, Incline Village, Nev. and Plumas and Sierra Counties including Calpine, Graeagle, Portola, Floriston, Verdi, Sierraville, Loyalton and Soda Springs.

For more information about Tahoe Forest Hospice, call in California: 530-414-4862; in Nevada: 775-833-0902.

To learn about Tahoe Forest Hospice volunteer opportunities, call 530-582-6384.

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