Since 1992, the month of November has been designated to raise awareness of hospice and palliative care and provide information about important care issues for people coping with serious illness. This year's theme is Hospice.Helps.Everyone.

This November, hospices across the country are reaching out to raise awareness and dispel myths about hospice and palliative care. For example, some people believe that hospice is a place, but 70 percent of hospice care takes place for patients who are in their own homes.

People also believe that hospice only serves cancer patients, but more than half of hospice patients have diseases other than cancer. It is a widely held belief that hospice is only for elderly patients, but it serves people of all ages, even children. Hospice and palliative care help people facing life-limiting illness to live as fully as possible and support their loved ones.

According to the American Hospice Foundation, the public's lack of information about hospice care threatens its future. The best way to be certain that hospice care will continue to be available to you and your loved ones is to be informed. To learn the facts about hospice, read the American Hospice Organization's Debunking the Myths of Hospice.

In her 1969 book, On Death and Dying: What the Dying Have to Teach Doctors, Nurses, Clergy & Their Own Families, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross identified some of the reasons for the public's misunderstanding of hospice care.

"We live in a very particular death-denying society," she wrote. "We isolate both the dying and the old, and it serves a purpose. They are reminders of our own mortality. We should not institutionalize people. We can give families more help with home care and visiting nurses, giving the families and the patients the spiritual, emotional, and financial help in order to facilitate the final care at home."

Her book of interviews with terminally ill patients helped to launch the hospice movement in Great Britain and the United States. To find out more about hospice and palliative care, learn about ways you can support the system by donating or volunteering or locate hospice care in your area, go to:
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization or Hospice Action Network.

To read about the many ways guided imagery can assist hospice patients and their loved ones, read Belleruth's blog post Ten Reasons Guided Meditation Is Best Practice for Hospice and Palliative Care.

Check out Health Journeys' special Family Hospice Pack in our online store.

Tell us about your experiences with hospice and palliative care. As always, we love hearing from you and we wish you a sweet November, wherever you are.

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