Mayor proclaims month honoring end-of-life care-givers

LOGAN – The City of Logan has joined physicians and medical professionals across the country in proclaiming November to be National Hospice and Palliative Care Month.

A proclamation signed by Mayor Holly Daines on Tuesday urged local citizens to increase their understanding and awareness of end-of-life care by participating in appropriate activities and programs throughout the month.

Craig Alder, the chaplain of Sunshine Home Health and Hospice in Logan, briefly addressed the members of the City Council on Tuesday to explain that quality hospice and palliative care reaffirms the essential dignity of every person and the belief that every stage of human life deserves to be treated with the utmost respect and care.

Hospice and palliative care are medical specialties that focus on the reduction of terminally ill patients’ pain and symptoms while attending to their emotional and spiritual needs at the end of life. Such treatments provide an alternative to therapies focused on life-prolonging measures that may not be aligned with the person’s quality of life goals.

More than 1.6 million Americans with life-limiting illnesses receive hospice and palliative care annually, according to the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. That treatment is typically delivered by an interdisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, social workers, therapists, counselors, health aides and chaplains. More than 468,000 trained volunteers also contribute 20 million hours of service to hospice patients and their family members annually.

Alder said Tuesday that the history of hospices dates back to the medieval Crusades, when such havens were first established for the sick and dying as well as travelers and pilgrims.

The modern concept of hospice and palliative care was first advocated by British physician Dame Cecily Saunders during a speech at Yale University in the early 1960s. Later in that decade, Saunder’s views were supported by Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross who argued in the ground-breaking monograph “On Death and Dying” that terminally ill patients deserved the right to make personal decisions about end-of- life care.

The first American hospice was established in the mid-1970s and hospice care was formally recognized by the U.S. Medicare system about a decade later.

The Homecare & Hospice Association of Utah invites anyone interested in exploring end-of-life options to participate in the Southwest Homecare & Hospice “Where the Heart Is” virtual conference, which is slated for Nov. 17 to 19. That digital event can accessed at http://www.hhau.org/event-3956737.

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