Watching a loved one die is hard. Watching a loved one die in pain is harder. One of the reasons I’m so passionate about hospice and the work that we do is that I firmly believe no one should suffer needlessly in pain.
In September, Solari Hospice Care is proud to join with individuals and organizations around the country in recognition of “National Pain Awareness Month.” This provides an opportunity to raise awareness and increase education about pain issues, support the millions of Americans who suffer from pain, and bring positive changes to the public’s perception of pain management.
Did you know that one of the greatest fears people have is that they – or someone they love – will die in pain? It’s true. In fact, according to a 2011 survey commissioned by Dying Matter, a coalition of several major charities that promote end-of-life discussions, people are more frightened of dying in pain (83 percent) than of being informed that they are actually dying in the first place (67 percent).
Pain and symptom management is the hallmark of hospice. It’s our top priority. Everything we do is geared to relieve suffering and provide pain relief so that people can enjoy the best quality of life possible and then die peacefully and with dignity.
People need to know that there is somewhere they can turn for help. In choosing hospice care, patients receive physical as well as emotional and spiritual comfort in an atmosphere that is warm, caring and compassionate. Our interdisciplinary team – which includes physicians, nurses, social workers, aides, counselor, volunteers and other support staff – all work together to keep patients as pain-free as possible.
Before the hospice movement took hold in the United States in the early 1980s, a patient with severe pain had few choices for good pain control, most of which involved hospitalization. And, so instead of being surrounded by family and friends in a loving environment, people often died in a hospital bed among beeping noises, loud speakers and high-tech machines.
Today, it doesn’t have to be that way. Thanks to hospice, most patients – even those who develop severe pain – can be cared for in their homes. Should the pain escalate to the point it can’t be managed at home, both our Houston and Las Vegas Solari Hospice Care programs offer highly personalized, 12-bed inpatient hospice centers with 24-hour-a-day acute medical care in a tranquil, homelike setting.
While there comes a time where medicine can no longer add days to a life, in hospice we can add life to those days – and make sure patients don’t spend that precious time battling pain.