Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and there isn’t a person in the U.S. who doesn’t know it. However, while getting ready for the Thanksgiving holiday is occupying most of our lives right now, what most people don’t know is that November is reason to celebrate something entirely different – National Hospice & Palliative Care Month.

As you might imagine, National Hospice & Palliative Care Month is important to all of us at Oxford HealthCare. After all, our 1,200 team members travel the back roads of 53 counties every day, providing home care, hospice care, and palliative care to 5,000 clients each week. We log nearly three million miles each year, but to us, it’s what we do.

So, tomorrow when the leadership team at Oxford HealthCare sits down to their respective Thanksgiving feasts, we are reminded to give thanks for our many blessings – which includes having such an extraordinary group of caregivers on our team who are collectively driven by a singular mission: To enrich life.

Those three simple words – 12 letters in all – defined who we are. To us, enriching life means doing whatever it takes to provide compassionate care to the clients we serve, easing pain and suffering, offering emotional support when necessary, and being there when others can’t. It’s tough duty, no doubt, but when you are driven to help others – which our caregivers are – then the work becomes just a little easier.

What is Hospice and Palliative Care?

Hospice care provides pain management, symptom control, psychosocial support, and spiritual care to patients and their families when a cure is not possible. Each year, 1.5 million people in the U.S. – as well as their family caregivers – are provided hospice care

Hospice focuses on caring, not curing. For our patients, hospice care is provided in the patient’s home, but hospice care is also provided in freestanding hospice centers, hospitals, nursing homes, and other long-term care facilities. Many people only consider hospice care in the final days of life, but hospice is ideally suited to care for patients and family caregivers for the final months of life

Palliative care is like hospice care in that it brings the same interdisciplinary care team to the patient’s home earlier in the course of a serious illness and can be provided along with other treatments that are intended to cure. This does not replace a patient’s traditional care provided by primary care and specialty care physicians, but rather provides an extra layer of support for the patient and the patient’s family.

Give Thanks This Holiday Season

If you and your family are in good health, then remember to give thanks for that. Too many people in our country are suffering from a chronic disease or serious illness and require ongoing care – whether in a hospital, nursing home, or in their own homes. If you, too, are struggling with your health, then give thanks to all those who support you in any way – your physicians, nurses, aides, and, most important, your family care providers. And know that we are always here to support you however we can. From everyone at Oxford HealthCare, we hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.