Instead of prolonging suffering, hospice & palliative medicine helps to bring pain and other distressing symptoms under control; to reaffirm feelings of love and respect; to have access to care, medicine and social supports; to be heard through compassionate listening; to be encouraged to hope, dream, review life; and to renew and revive close important relationships. No one should die in pain and no family should be torn apart by the demands of caregiving.
Despite the eventuality of death and the impact of grief, with the exception of the Seasons Hospice Foundation, there is no other national foundation engaged in funding large-scale educational initiatives related to these important end-of-life issues.
Before the acceptance and practice of hospice and palliative care, medical interventions often prolonged the suffering of dying patients instead of providing comfort and relief from pain. Medical professionals began to realize the gap in care that existed between patients with an illness that can be cured and those whose illness cannot be cured or improved by modern medicine. In 2006, Palliative Medicine, sometimes referred to as ‘comfort care’, became recognized in the United States as a subspecialty of medicine.