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A New Member to the Hospice Team By Perry P. Guaglianone, M.D.

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A NEW MEMBER TO THE HOSPICE TEAM

By Perry P. Guaglianone, M.D.

Hospice has a long tradition in caring for those who have advanced illness.  The goal of Hospice is to provide comfort in a person's last year of life.  Comfort can be given in a variety of ways, whether it is physical comfort, pain control, psychological support, social and spiritual support.

The Hospice team consists of nurses, chaplains, social workers, and also volunteers who donate their time to provide assistance to Hospice patients.

One of the newest member of the Hospice team this year is Buddy, a five year old miniature pinscher.  He is on loan from Love at First Sight and he is available to stay with Hospice patients who request his companionship.

"The emotional benefits of a pet can bring lots of comfort and joy, which are especially welcome by patients dealing with terminal illnesses," says Leslie Roberts, DMH Hospice.

There are many patients who are pet lovers and enjoy the unconditional love and companionship that a pet can offer.  Love at First Sight has provided food, veterinary care and other equipment such as a leash and a bed for Buddy.

Buddy is considered an "official volunteer" with his own file and job description and has logged in about 400 volunteers hours with the program.

More traditionally, Hospice has nurses who visit patients on a regular bases, making sure pain is adequately controlled and also providing emotional comfort for the family.  Spiritual support is available also at the patient's request.  Social workers provide comfort by mobilizing community resources for the benefit of the patient and also making sure Hospice is available to all members of the community regardless of their ability to pay.

Hospice tries to be innovative in a team approach for the improvement of our loved ones' quality of life.

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