November is National Hospice Month

Joe Toppe Staff Writer

November 20, 2013

PICKENS COUNTY – In an effort to create positive awareness for their services, November has been designated as National Hospice and Palliative Care Month.

With an office in Downtown Easley, Hospice Care of South Carolina is the state’s leading hospice provider with 31 local offices that serve all 46 counties.

“We’re working hard all year round to make sure people know that support, comfort and compassionate care is available at a time when hope seems out of reach,” said David Powell, CEO of Hospice Care of South Carolina. “Yet during November, we step up our efforts to raise awareness of the high-quality care that’s available during one of life’s most challenging times.”

Registered nurse and Patient Care Coordinator Cindy Gilstrap said creating positive awareness is important for removing the fear attached to hospice care.

“We need some positive awareness out there because a lot of people are scared of hospice,” she said. “People hear the word hospice and they correlate death with that, and yes, our patients do pass away, but we try and help them do that with dignity and comfort.”

Hospice Care of South Carolina also includes pediatric care.

“We have Hands of Hope which is the pediatric division,” Gilstrap said. “Children can have hospice care and still seek aggressive treatments such as chemotherapy, and our Hands of Hope has specialists that can go in and work with the children and siblings to make memories. They will also reach out to our adult patients that have children and grandchildren.”

According to Gilstrap, hospice care is designed to care for patients at the end of life.

“Hospice cares for patients at the end of life,” Gilstrap said. “That doesn’t mean you have to be dying in six months, it just means you have a terminal illness that doctors have decided will take your life relatively soon.”

Gilstrap said Hospice of South Carolina provides a variety of services to Pickens County.

“We take care of their patients, and we have a crises care unit,” she said. “We can offer care around the clock if we need to. We can send out a nurse, an aid, a chaplain and a social worker that will take care of any needs that the patient or that family has whether it’s pain management, the Alzheimer’s voucher, or utilities, and our chaplain is there for any spiritual help they need regardless of denomination. Of course, our nurses are skilled in pain management and symptom management, and our aids are certified.”

Hospice Care of South Carolina now provides service in Pickens and Oconee Counties around the clock.

“We are now available around the clock,” Gilstrap said. “If we need to be out there on Christmas Day or Thanksgiving, we are going to be out there, and if we need to be out there at 4 a.m., then we will be out there then.”

Officials at Hospice Care of South Carolina said it is an honor to provide care for the patients of Pickens County.

“We believe it is an honor to do what we do,” said Joy Workman, community relations liaison for Hospice Care of South Carolina. “These patients are letting us into their homes and into their lives and letting us take care of them to provide them with comfort. Seeing someone smile because they are no longer in that hospital is why we do what we do.”

Hospice Month will be recognized across the nation and other outlets for hospice care are excited about highlighting their services.

Pam Melbourne, CEO of Hospice of the Upstate in Anderson, said the month will provide an opportunity to honor those that have died.

“Patients are being cared for throughout the year,” she said. “Hospice Month provides a great opportunity to not only highlight our services, but to honor those that have died, and it is also crucial to offer support for the families that have lost loved ones.”