Care at home: let it be your first choice

homecare-month-mastrightNovember is National Home Health & Hospice month, and home care agencies across the country are reaching out to raise awareness and make sure people understand what a valuable resource is available to them when they are facing difficult decisions about their health.

“Coping with a serious or life-limiting illness is not easy. In fact, it might be the hardest work you’ll ever do,” said Barbara Morris, Director of Community Education for Smoky Mountain Home Health & Hospice. “Working with doctors and hospitals, navigating the maze of care needs, figuring out insurance coverage, all in addition to taking care of your own family can be overwhelming. Smoky Mountain Home Health & Hospice, with six offices serving 13 East Tennessee counties, wants the community to know that there is help available.

“Our home health and hospice staff take the time to talk with you and help you understand your illness and what care options might be available, and make your wishes a priority and make sure you get the care you want and deserve.”

“In regards to hospice care, there is an inaccurate perception among the American public that hospice means you’ve given up,” said Tammy Francis, RN, owner and administrator of the agency. “Those of us who have worked in the field of hospice have seen firsthand how hospice care can improve the quality of life. And there is growing body of research showing that hospice care may prolong the lives of some people who receive care.

“Hospice care provides expert pain management, symptom control, psychosocial support and spiritual care to patients and families when a cure is not possible. All the necessary medicines and equipment needed to keep a patient comfortable can be brought right to the home, which is where most Americans would like to be if at all possible. Hospice makes this happen and removes all the negatives: the pain, the spiritual burdens, the financial burdens. It elevates death in many ways and helps patients live their lives to the fullest. It’s about quality of life and with the help of hospice care, patients and families can focus on what’s most important, living life as fully as possible.”

Francis explained that SMHHH’s highly-trained professionals not only provide quality medical care, they work to “make sure patients and families find dignity, respect and love during life’s most difficult journey.”

Home care is not just the preferred choice for most patients, it is also the best bang for our health care dollars. It costs Medicare nearly $2,000 per day for a typical hospital stay and $559 per day for a typical nursing home stay. Meanwhile, home care costs just $44 per day on average.

With Thanksgiving on the horizon, people start to think about all the things they are grateful for, and for many, families are thankful that they have help in their homes to care for their loved ones.

“We’re working hard all year round to make sure people know that support, comfort and respect are available at a time when hope seems out of reach sometimes,” said Morris of the agency. “Yet in November, we ramp up our efforts to raise awareness of the high-quality care that’s available during one of life’s most challenging times.”

Every November, home health and hospice agencies across the nation celebrate National Home Care & Hospice month to honor employees such as nurses, clinicians, therapists and doctors who provide care in patients’ homes and who have made a positive impact in the lives for which they care.

“Smoky Mountain Home Health & Hospice joins these agencies in thanking those who care for seniors and loved ones during the most vulnerable times in their lives,” said Morris.

For additional information, please call 800-358-7844 or the Smoky Mountain Home Health office nearest you in Newport, Morristown, Tazewell, Kingsport, Greeneville or Knoxville.

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