Callaway, MD– November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month and hospices across the country are reaching out to help people understand the importance of planning for the care they would want if they were facing a serious or life-limiting illness.

“One of the things we hear from families again and again is ‘why didn’t we learn about hospice care earlier,’” said Jennifer Schmidt, MD, medical director of Hospice of St. Mary’s. “The best time to learn about hospice or palliative care is before you are facing a medical crisis.”

Hospice and palliative care combines high-quality medical care with the emotional and spiritual support families need most when facing a serious or terminal illness. Palliative care offers comfort and support earlier in the course of a serious illness. Hospice brings family caregivers and patients high-quality, compassionate care and support when a cure is not possible. Together, palliative care and hospice can help people live each moment of life to the fullest.

Advance care planning involves talking about the care you would and would not want – and then completing an advance directive to document and share those wishes with others.

Throughout the month of November, Hospice of St. Mary’s will be joining organizations across the nation hosting activities that will help the community understand how important hospice and palliative care can be and the value of advance care planning to make one’s wishes known. 

More information about hospice, palliative care and advance care planning is available from Hospice of St Mary’s. Visit HospiceOfStMarys.org or contact us at 301-994-3023.

The National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization’s national campaign, Moments of Life: Made Possible by Hospice, offers an additional online resource –  “What Are My Options?,” an interactive tool designed to provide information that will help guide healthcare choices if a person or a loved one is facing a serious illness… especially if that illness is getting worse. In less than 60 seconds, website visitors will have important answers to help guide decisions. Learn what options might be right for you or a loved one at MomentsOfLife.org/Options.

About MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital

MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital (MSMH) is a full-service community hospital, delivering state-of-the-art emergency, acute inpatient and outpatient care in Leonardtown, Maryland. Nestled in a waterside community, MedStar St. Mary’s provides advanced technology with a dedication to excellence in all services provided. The not-for-profit hospital has been named among the nation’s Top 100 Hospitals™ and is an eight time recipient of the prestigious Delmarva Medicare Excellence Award. In addition, MSMH received the Maryland Performance Excellence award at the Platinum level in 2014 – the highest in the state. Our staff is committed to providing quality and compassionate medical care for all patients by coupling innovation with our outstanding team of Medical Staff members, associates and volunteers. Visit MedStarStMarys.org to learn more.