Our mission keeps us focused on providing our community the best services and resources on living with a life-limiting illness, dying, death, grief and loss throughout Bryan, Chatham, Effingham, Liberty and Long counties. However, with community support and the work of our Foundation, we are much more than hospice. We provide grief support to anyone in need through our Full Circle Grief and Loss Center; offer hospital, home-based and clinic-based palliative care for symptom and pain management through the Steward Center for Palliative Care; and help any unpaid and untrained family caregiver in our community with education and support through our Edel Caregiver Institute.
Over the last two decades there has been an influx of conglomerate, corporate hospices. Many of them come into our community and hire a doctor with a large medical practice with a sizeable percentage of hospice-eligible patients as their medical director. He or she will often directly refer their patients to that hospice instead of offering them freedom of choice; frequently families feel they are with Hospice Savannah and realize only later that they are not. It’s important o know there are differences in the quality and scope of care and that not all hospices are the same!
Too often, patients and doctors hold out hope for one more surgery or one more treatment and are not realistic about the prognosis of the terminal disease. It has been clinically shown that utilizing hospice and palliative care actually extends both the quality and the length of life, yet we regularly have patients die in the ambulance en route from the hospital or very shortly after their arrival to their own home or Hospice Inpatient Unit (HIPU). Families are being robbed of the opportunity to have the meaningful conversations needed to finish up the business of living – saying, “I love you,” “I’m sorry” and so on.
The fact that Hospice Savannah is the only Joint Commission accredited hospice in our community speaks to our focus on quality outcomes and focus on ethical business practices. We are also extremely proud to be the only hospice to have a Hospice Inpatient Unit (HIPU) where our patients can come to have difficult symptoms treated or where they can choose to pay to live as a resident. Both of these aspects of our business would not be possible without the excellent and compassionate care provided by our staff and volunteers.
It is a struggle to overcome our society’s aversion to death, but from the time of first diagnosis of a serious or chronic illness, we can help patients deal with their pain and other difficult symptoms. Make your healthcare decisions out of knowledge – not out of fear!