National Hospice and Palliative Care Day encourages tough conversations about life and death

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Heartland Home Health Care & Hospice is encouraging families to talk about what they want their last days to live to look like.

According to Steph Walker, divisional director for Heartland, it is a topic some people avoid, but she wants to use National Hospice and Palliative Care Day to change that. Hospice and palliative care is caring for chronically ill people who need support and management to carry on their lives, or maybe in the last year of their life.

There is a heavy focus on the quality of life.

“Most of us want to pass away at home, or wherever feels like home to us and unfortunately, more than 70% of people that die, die in an acute care hospital, surrounded by strangers,” said Walker. “Well-meaning strangers, but strangers nonetheless.”

Her advice is for families to talk about what they want their last days to look like.

“Share with your family, what is most meaningful to you, what makes you feel safe and loved and what you’re looking toward,” Walker said. “So that as a human being, you have as much power over not only what your living looks like each day, but also what your dying looks like.”

National Hospice and Palliative Care Day is observed on October 10. It comes one day after Heartland cut the ribbon on their new facility at 2720 Dupont Commerce Ct. According to Walker, the move to a larger space will allow them to expand their programs.

“It allows us to provide more care for patients and increase the size of our staff, ” said Walker. “Also, having extra room to provide our community with grief support groups, as well as other opportunities for our collaborators in care to come together and brainstorm and support our community from this new beautiful location.”

The move comes after 36 years of business.

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