BILLINGS, Mont. – More than 50 years ago, the first formal hospice program was established. Today there are more than 4,000 hospice agencies in the U.S. providing specialized care to people in their final months of life. The Compassus program serving Billings joins in recognizing November as National Hospice and Palliative Care Month to highlight the importance of high-quality care for all those coping with serious or life-limiting illness.
Hospice and palliative care are always patient-centered, ensuring the needs and preferences of the patient come first. Hospice is not a place but high-quality care that enables patients and families to focus on living as fully as possible despite a life-limiting illness. Palliative care is medical care for people facing serious illness and can be provided together with curative treatment; it encompasses goals of care conversations and advance care planning.
“Every individual deserves to experience the highest possible quality of life,” said Katherine Dietrich, M.D., associate medical director for Compassus – Billings. “This year’s theme, My Hospice. A Program that Works. A Benefit that Matters. is designed to raise awareness that hospice – Medicare’s first proven coordinated care model – is a program that works by offering person-centered, compassionate care, ensuring people dignity, choice and quality of life. Beyond providing physical treatment, hospice attends to the patient’s emotional, spiritual and family needs and provides family services like respite care and bereavement counseling. At Compassus, we are fully committed to caring for our community members in this manner, which demonstrates how health care can, and should, work at its best for patients.”
Hospice is the original comprehensive approach to health care. No other health care sector is required to address all aspects of a patient’s and family’s health and wellbeing. It is covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance companies. Palliative care may be provided in addition to home health services, and consultative palliative care is covered by Medicare and most private insurance companies.
Throughout the month of November, Compassus – Billings will be joining organizations across the nation to recognize the importance of hospice and palliative care.
For more information about National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, visit www.nhpco.org.
Visit our local Billings, Montana page for details or call (406) 294-0785.