Gratitude and Courage

For many of us, this time of year serves as an opportunity to reflect on what we are thankful for; the company of our loved ones, our personal health and safety, or the resiliency of our communities. This year at VNAs of Vermont we are thankful for the dedicated nurses, therapists and other staff who provide compassionate home health and hospice care to our families, friends and neighbors. Because of the care provided by VNAs of Vermont member agencies, many Vermonters will be able to spend the Thanksgiving holiday in their homes, with their families.

The month of November is also recognized annually as National Hospice and Palliative Care Month (HAPCM). The theme of HAPCM this year is ‘Courageous Conversations,’ and we are encouraging you to join us in discussing the benefits of advanced planning, hospice, and palliative care.

HAPCM was first announced in 1978 by then President Jimmy Carter to recognize the efforts of those who provide end-of-life care, and to help raise awareness of the growing hospice movement. Days ago, former first lady Rosalynn Carter, who was in hospice care, died peacefully in her home with family by her side. In 1987, Rosalyn Carter founded the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers to support the unique needs of the caregivers who selflessly care for family and friends. She was an exceptional advocate for care at home, and we are deeply thankful for her commitment to sick or aging Americans, and the people who care for them.

Former President Carter, also a long-time champion for care at home, announced in February of this year that he was entering hospice care, and recently celebrated his 99th birthday.

Conversations about death can be difficult for many but having these difficult conversations early go a long way towards ensuring that we can all live our best lives until the end, and that we have a plan in place for when we’re no longer able to make medical decisions for ourselves.

It is never too early to start having courageous conversations about hospice and palliative care!

In the coming months we will continue to share information about hospice and palliative care options available to Vermonters. Reach out to your local home health and hospice agency to discuss available hospice services. More information on HAPCM can be found on the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s website.

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