A letter to the editor I recently submitted:
When I was working as a family physician, I regularly referred patients to Snowline hospice. I knew they would receive the level of support they needed during this difficult transition. When my grandfather was on hospice, that support proved invaluable to my parents. After I stopped working, I started volunteering at Snowline hospice myself.
Hospice and palliative care combine the highest level of quality medical care with the emotional and spiritual support that families need most when facing the end of life. Trained volunteers are essential members of the care team and there are more than 78 in our community along with more than 400,000 volunteers throughout the country bringing comfort, love and respect to those in need.
I find it so rewarding to be able to support a hospice patient through his or her final days of life, whether that be by reading a book, hearing about his life, or simply sitting in silence with someone. Theoretically, I'm in the position of giving, yet I leave each meeting with a deep sense of gratitude for the gifts I have been given by my hospice patients.
November is National Hospice Palliative Care Month, an important time to help others understand the important resource we have in our community. It's never too early for a family to learn about the services hospice can provide. More information is available at www.snowlinehospice.org. If, like me, you'd like to volunteer to support others, contact Snowline at 530-621-7820.
Kim Mcilnay, MD