Observance calls attention to home health, hospice and palliative care

A open letter to our community

By Adrianne Johnson Ross, MHA 

There comes a time in many of our lives when we either take or are given the responsibility of caring for a seriously or terminally ill family member. It’s a hard job that can be made harder by a confusing health care system and uncertainty about where to find support. 

Fortunately, there’s an accessible resource close to home that provides comfort, dignity and respect to those coping with a serious or life-limiting illness and their families: The University of Vermont Health Network – Home Health & Hospice. During November, which is National Home Care, Hospice & Palliative Care Month, we’re reaching out to remind our neighbors of care options for every age and stage of life wherever they call home in Chittenden or Grand Isle counties. 

Home care, or home health, is care delivered wherever you or your loved one calls home. It includes support for recovery from stroke or surgery, disease and symptom management, such as breathing difficulties, as well as support for patients with heart disease, diabetes and other chronic illnesses. It includes pain and symptom management for adults and children. 

‘Caring for the whole person’

Hospice offers a whole-person approach to treatment that blends expert medical care, pain management and emotional and spiritual support. Caring for the whole person allows our team to address every patient’s unique needs and challenges. In addition to caring for patients, hospice offers services for families and loved ones by providing emotional support and guidance to help them become confident caregivers and, when the time comes, to help them adjust to the future with bereavement support for up to a year. 

Hospices are also some of the best providers of community-based palliative care. Palliative care improves patients’ quality of life, relieves pain and manages symptoms. It can be provided at any time during an illness  during and after treatment, from diagnosis on.  

Planning before a crisis

The best time to learn about hospice or palliative care  and to make plans for the kind of care you or a loved one would want  is before you are faced with a medical crisis. One of the most frequent comments we hear from families is, “Why did we wait so long before calling hospice?”  

We remain committed to serving our community by delivering high-quality, person-centered care to anyone who is facing a serious or life-limiting illness as we have since 1906. Our dedicated health care team is available to provide physical, emotional, and spiritual care while supporting your wishes and plan of care. At every age and stage of life, we are here for you. 

Adrianne Johnson Ross, MHA, joined The University of Vermont Health Network – Home Health & Hospice, the state’s oldest and largest home health agency, as president and chief operating officer in December 2020. She can be reached at 802-860-4431 or Adrianne.JohnsonRoss@uvmhomehealth.org.