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Bloomington-Normal has several hospice agencies that provide services to help patients and their families experience a peaceful death at home. However, sometimes dying patients are not able to remain at home due to the complex level of care needed. When symptoms increase, a patient is often transferred to a nursing home or hospital. However, in many communities there is another choice… that of a residential hospice home.

Currently Bloomington-Normal does not have such a facility but my visit to OSF Richard Owens Hospice Home in Peoria convinced me that our community would benefit from such an option. The hospice home is prepared to address extreme pain and symptom control but in a home-like atmosphere.  Its goal is to stabilize the patient to a routine level of care and, in some cases, the patient is able to return home to live and die peacefully. Such a home also provides respite care for the hospice patient when the caregiver needs a break.

The hospice home coordinates all the services of the pharmacy, nursing care, medical equipment, laundry, food preparation, personal care and other patient needs. In addition, families benefit from education and support given daily by hospice staff who guide them through the dying process. Many of these services are part of the hospice Medicare benefit. Those families who live at a distance from their loved ones would especially benefit from this type of coordinated service.

It’s time now for our community to develop a residential hospice as a viable option in end-of-life care.

Ellen MacCannell Morgan, Normal


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