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Lee’s Hope Hospice, Community Services awarded

By Staff | Oct 10, 2008

Hope Hospice and Community Services in Lee County was one of nine organizations across the United States recently awarded with the Quality in Palliative Care Leadership Award.

This is the first year the national award was given out for palliative care or when an organization provides comfort and improves the quality of life for a person with a terminal illness that cannot be cured. Locally, Hope Hospice offers this type of care through its Hope Comfort Care, Hope Hospice and other programs for the seriously ill.

“Hope’s approach to palliative care addresses each person’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs with an array of therapies, counseling and support,” explained Samira K. Beckwith, president and chief executive officer of Hope Hospice.

The award will continue to be presented each year to other organizations that adhere to the National Consensus Project for Quality Care and the National Quality Forum — guidelines that outline quality care.

“Our staff is committed to providing care and comfort in a way that is unique to each person we serve. This award recognizes their deep commitment, and we are honored to be among the first recipients,” said Beckwith.

World Hospice Day begins Saturday. It is a day to raise awareness and is held each year on the second Saturday of October. This year’s theme is “Hospice and Palliative Care: A Human Right.”

Some 70 countries take part in the celebration each year to raise awareness for what care is available for the terminally ill. The first celebration in 2005 included more than 1,100 events in 74 countries.

Advocates of World Hospice Day suggest that local hospice organizations participate by hosting an open day or an outdoor event, a fund-raising event such as a walk or dinner, or creating products such as T-shirts or badges.

Hope Hospice is not participating Saturday, instead it uses the day to spread awareness on hospice services.

“We use it as an opportunity to talk about that, we’d like people to know more about what hospice care is,” said Beckwith.

She explained that there are a lot of misunderstandings about what services hospice offers the community.

“People don’t understand because they don’t want to think about hospice, they think of it as giving up hope. We want people to know that hospice is about quality of life and care,” she said.

If there was one comment Beckwith said she hears more than any other from patients and families, it is that “they wish we had gotten into hospice earlier.”

Supporters of World Hospice Day point out that half of the countries in the world offer no palliative care services, but it is estimated that 100 million people could benefit from this care each year.

Next month is the start of National Hospice Month.

For more information, visit: www.worldday.org.