By Cassidy Smith, Written Communications Specialist

What is most important to you when it comes to your healthcare at end-of-life? Do you prioritize pain management, prolonging life, or something different?

This is the question that was posed by Kaiser Family Foundation in a recent study about healthcare at end-of-life. In this study, KFF found that, out of all of the people polled, 71% believed the most important thing was to help people die without pain, discomfort, and stress. Even further, 41% of people polled believe that the healthcare system in the United States places too little emphasis on helping people die without suffering, pain, discomfort, and stress.

Pain and symptom management throughout the end-of-life journey is the basic idea behind hospice care. Rather than focusing on curative measures that can decrease quality of life, we focus on bringing comfort and peace to your final days. We focus on taking care of you so your family can spend valuable time with you, making memories that will last lifetimes.

Because hospice is a touchy subject for many, we do not reach many of the people who need our services. We are constantly advocating for the healthcare world to add extra emphasis on comfort at end-of-life, because we know through experience how much peace, relief, and joy can be found through our services.

The fact is that a vast majority of Americans believe that treatment of pain, discomfort, and stress is the most important thing to them at end-of-life, which shows us and the world that our services are incredibly important to our country. The gaps in bridging over from curative measures to hospice care are gaps that we constantly try to fill because the patients caught in those gaps need our help. Many times, patients get lost in the cure-focused healthcare world, and no one stops to ask them if it’s what they want for their lives. To those of us who place a lot of importance in quality of life, harsh curative measures that will deplete our quality of life are not what we want for ourselves. For the 71% of us who believe that pain and symptom management is most important, hospice care is there to ensure that our end-of-life journeys follow the paths that we see for ourselves.