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Kaweah Health to Mark Hospice, Home Care, Palliative Care Month

Kaweah Health is celebrating November as National Hospice, Palliative Care and Home Care Month by emphasizing the importance of quality home-based care and dignified end-of-life care.

Each year, Kaweah Health serves thousands of people through its hospice, home care and palliative services. These people depend on such services to remain comfortable, stable and away from costly traditional settings. For decades, caring for the elderly, disabled and chronically ill at home has provided a dignified and highly-efficient method of treatment. Home-based care is also clinically effective, utilizing advanced technologies and helping to cost-effectively manage chronic diseases that account for 75% of our nation's health care spending.

"You're loved one is not just a patient to us. We know it's your mother, it's your father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, - it's somebody that you care for deeply," said Dr. Ryan Howard, medical director of Kaweah Health Hospice and Palliative Care Services. "Hospice and palliative care is a specialty of medicine that takes a family-centered and whole-person approach, managing somebody's physical, spiritual and psychological needs in order to help manage patients with serious medical illnesses."

Hospice care is specifically for the last six months of life expectancy, Dr. Howard said, while palliative medicine can be provided to any patient at any age or any stage of the disease process to provide an extra layer of support to patients and families.

"When people have an advanced illness, they are in a vulnerable stage of life and I have made it my life's work to commit myself to helping to treat them compassionately and empathetically," Dr. Howard said. "I think that it definitely goes with our mission to provide world class care for life."

Earlier this year, Kaweah Health also celebrated the re-opening of The Kaweah Health Ruth Wood Open Arms House at 3234 W. Iris Ave., Visalia. The house, now under the ownership of the Kaweah Health Hospital Foundation, provides a home-like setting for hospice patients with costs based on their ability to pay. Kaweah Health Hospice oversees day-to-day operations and medical care at the house under the leadership of Dr. Howard.

Kaweah Health offers:

• Home Health Agency – A team of professionals who care for people at home after a hospitalization or illness providing nursing care physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, medical social work services and home health aides.

• Kaweah Health Hospice – Providing comfort, kindness, dignity and choice to terminally ill patients and their families, helping them to live life to its fullest in the face of terminal illness.

• Private Home Care – A homecare service providing personal care, housekeeping and more, designed to meet the individual needs of each patient served.

• Lifeline – A professionally monitored emergency response system that provides help 24/7 at the press of a button.

• Home Infusion Pharmacy – Providing high-quality, cost-effective pharmaceutical services to homebound patients.


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