Op-Ed: The Value of Hospice

This month I want to pay tribute to the compassionate employees in the healthcare sector, particularly those that dedicate their time to caring for individuals in the last days of their lives. 

Saying goodbye to loved ones is never an easy process. 

In fact, the end of life can be as hectic and confusing as it is tragic and heartbreaking.  With mountains of decisions to make and details to manage, families and friends left behind can be saddled with an overwhelming amount of loose ends, on top of dealing with the grief of losing a loved one. 

Hospice caregivers help to ease this burden by providing medical, emotional, and spiritual support to individuals and families who are coping with a life-limiting illness, giving them peace of mind during the very difficult task of saying goodbye.  With the flexibility to receive care at home, in a hospital, or a senior care facility, hospice caregivers are truly dedicated to the comfort and needs of the patient and family.

As my Chief of Staff recently wrote in a letter to the exceptional caregivers at Lancaster County Hospice (LCH), “There is no greater love than to care for those in need.  According to Matthew 25:31, in the Final Judgement, we will all be invited to consider what we have done in this life for the hungry, thirsty, homeless, sick and suffering.”

Like so many others, I am deeply touched by the willingness of these caregivers to fulfill the mission of helping the sick and suffering.  In this, they are being faithful to a greater purpose and demonstrating a sincere compassion for their friends, neighbors, and community. 

Recently, as I lost my father to cancer, my family and I experienced firsthand the incredible impact that hospice services can offer. 

We are truly grateful for the tremendous amount of empathy and support that the employees of LCH lent us during the recent passing of my father, Dave Aument.

The care that my dad received during his final weeks of life was of the highest quality.  The guiding and calming reassurance of the LCH employees, coupled with the wrap-around services LCH offers made the process more comfortable for my dad and for the rest of the family. 

Hospice can be a thankless job – so I wanted to be sure to publicly extend my thanks to the hardworking and dedicated caregivers at Lancaster County Hospice for their unwavering support, guidance, and compassion.

Specifically, I would like to personally acknowledge all of those who provided care to my father over the last nineteen months: Dr. William D. Fetchik, Dr. Tracy DeGreen and his staff at Lancaster Cancer Center, and Blue Team members Toni, Bobbie, and Amy of Lancaster County Hospice.  I am not only grateful for the care they provided, but for the compassionate and loving manner in which they served.

And to all the excellent hospice workers across Pennsylvania, your work does not go unnoticed.

You are deeply appreciated by the millions of families who never thought they’d need your services, but who were incredibly grateful for the steadfast care that you provided them at a time when they needed it most.  Thank you for your exceptional work in what can be a very difficult and trying field.