Home Health Care and Hospice Month

From left, are Debi Murphy, Nickie Bailey, Mayor Jacobs, Shannon Griffin, Emily Hall and Terri Woods.

On Wednesday Cullman Mayor Woody Jacobs proclaimed the month of November "Home Health Care and Hospice Month" in Cullman, urging citizens to express appreciation to home health care and hospice providers in our community.

"Home health care and hospice staff provide an invaluable service to their patients and their families in our community," said Jacobs. "I am proud to honor them with this proclamation."

Home health care is a wide range of health care related services provided for patients in their home. Home health care registered nurses (RNs), under the direction of an attending physician, assess and monitor healthcare needs and provide a variety of skilled nursing services including medication management and education, wound and post-surgical care, pain management, nutritional support, dressing changes, diabetic care, and more.

The home health care team also generally includes medical social workers who help patients and families manage and alleviate the stress that medical conditions often create; home health aides who assist patients with the tasks of daily living and personal care; and therapists to help patients regain functional mobility, speech, fine motor, and other skills.

Hospice care is focused on improving the quality of life for people and their caregivers who are experiencing a terminal illness. The hospice care team generally consists of an attending physician who coordinates care, RNs who cares for the patient and offers family support, aides who assist with bathing and dressing and other everyday activities, a social worker who gives emotional support and financial guidance, a chaplain who provides spiritual support to the patient and their family, and other professionals or volunteers who coordinate services or offer non-medical care and support.

Representatives from Comfort Care Home Health and Comfort Care Hospice accepted the proclamation from Jacobs. Those representatives included Shannon Griffin, Emily Hall, Terri Woods, Nickie Bailey, and Debi Murphy.

"Thank you for the services you provide," said Jacobs. "We hope we never need home health care of hospice services, but when we do, it's great to know that we have those services right here in Cullman."

Leanne West, Executive Assistant to Mayor Jacobs, who was also in attendance, expressed appreciation to the Comfort Care team and to all home health and hospice workers.

"My mom passed away last month, my uncle passed away in July, and my dad passed away in December 2016," she said. "They all had illnesses that required home health care and hospice care through Cullman Regional Home Care and Hospice. I don't know what I and my family would have done without home health care and hospice professionals caring for them and providing much-needed emotional and spiritual comfort for us."

According to recent statistics, about 12 million people in the United States require some form of home health care. There are more than 33,000 home health care providers in the U.S., with the most common conditions requiring home health care being diabetes, heart failure, chronic skin ulcers, osteoarthritis, and hypertension. Home health care offers security, dignity, and the ability to maintain as much independence as possible.

Approximately 1.6 million people in the United States receive care by hospice providers each year. The majority of hospice care takes place in the home, allowing patients to spend their final months at home with loved ones. Hospice care is covered under Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurers.

Both home health care and hospice providers strive to provide access to individualized services based on a patient's unique care needs and wishes.

"I know everyone's focused on Thanksgiving and Christmas right now," said Jacobs. "But I hope that our citizens will find a way to express appreciation to the home health care and hospice professionals in our area - not only through the month of November, but throughout the year."

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