The 2017 National Health & Wellness Association has designated November as Hospice & Palliative Care Month.

Mountains Community Hospital has a wonderful Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF), that specializes in palliative and hospice (end-of-life) care. The staff have received their training and certification through City of Hope. The objective of both palliative and hospice care is pain and symptom relief for someone who has a serious illness or is dying.

Palliative Care is defined as specialized medical care for people with a serious illness and helps the patient deal with the symptoms of both the disease and their treatment. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family. There are no time restrictions. Palliative care can be received by patients at any time, at any stage of illness whether it be terminal or not.

Palliative care teams are made up of doctors, nurses, and other professional medical caregivers, often at the facility where a patient first receives treatment. These individuals will administer or oversee most of the ongoing comfort-care. While palliative care can be administered in the home, it is most common to receive palliative care in an institution such as a hospital, extended care facility, or nursing home that is associated with a palliative care team.

Hospice care concentrates on comfort, rather than aggressive treatment of a disease. By electing to forego extensive life-prolonging treatment, hospice patients can concentrate on getting the most out of the time they have left, without some of the negative side-effects that life prolonging treatments can have. Most hospice patients can achieve a level of comfort that allows them to concentrate on the emotional and practical issues of dying. To be eligible for most hospice programs or to receive hospice benefits from your insurance, you must generally be considered to be terminal or within six months of death.

As a supplement to some of the more “traditional” care options, both hospice and palliative care protocols call for patients to receive a combined approach where medications, day-to-day care, equipment, bereavement counseling, and symptom treatment are administered through a single program. Where palliative care programs and hospice care programs differ greatly is in the care location, timing, payment, and eligibility for services.

Our SNF Director, Cynthia Altmeyer, shares the following:

“Since being a nurse I have come to understand that the greater portion of society is uncomfortable and not accepting of death; although we all will experience a loved one’s death, as well as our own. As a healthcare professional at Mountains Community Hospital, I can confidently say we strive to ensure every patient will experience a comfortable and dignified death. We work directly with the family and patient to provide personalized care with an emphasis on compassion. MCH also assures “No one will die alone” by having qualified staff and volunteers who sit bedside with patients who are actively passing away.”

If you have a friend, family member or loved one, who you believe is in need of this type of care, we encourage you to contact Cynthia, at (909) 436-3221 for more information, or to make an appointment to tour our facility. Mountains Community Hospital is dedicated to providing the highest quality medical care for your loved one.