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November is National Hospice Awareness Month

Havre, Montana –Northern Montana Health Care recognizes National Hospice and Palliative Care Month in the month of November. “Comfort, Love and Respect” is the theme of this year’s Hospice and Palliative Care Month. Bear Paw Hospice, established in 1996, performs an invaluable service to the residents of the Hi-Line.

Hospice provides expert medical care, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support expressly tailored to the patient’s needs and wishes for people facing a life-limiting illness. Support is provided to the patient’s loved ones as well. Hospice focuses on caring, not curing. In most cases, care is provided in the patient’s home but may also be provided in hospitals, nursing homes, and other long-term care facilities.

Hospice provides comfort to those facing the end of life. Typically, a family member serves as the primary caregiver and, when appropriate, helps make decisions for the terminally ill individual. Members of the hospice staff make regular visits to assess the patient and provide additional care or other support. The hospice team develops a care plan that meets each patient’s individual needs for pain management and symptom control. This team usually consists of the patient’s personal physician, hospice physician or medical director, nurses, hospice aides, social workers, bereavement counselors, clergy or other spiritual counselors, and trained volunteers.

For the loved ones of the patient, hospice provides support. An estimated 1.5 million patients receive care each year in the United States. According to the Yale Medical Group 42% of all deaths in the United States occurred under the care of a hospice program. Allowing the patient to remain in their current living situation means more time for the family to be together. But the support offered by the hospice providers means that they will not feel alone in the process.

The most important role that Hospice plays in the comfort of an individual is one of respect. Their lives, their wishes and their loved ones are all given the respect that is deserved. “Bear Paw Hospice delivers comprehensive and compassionate care. “says Brenda Sturm, VP Patient Care Services at Northern Montana Hospital. “Time becomes more valuable when it is limited. Our hospice care allows the patient and their loved ones to focus on what matters most. We’re thankful that we have Bear Paw Hospice as part of our organization to offer to our community.”

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