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Discussing hospice can be scary, but it doesn't have to be. Many people have been misled to think choosing hospice means giving up on themselves or a loved one, but this isn't the case at all. In reality, hospice care provides relief from painful symptoms and provides valuable support – physical, emotional and spiritual.

This support enables patients to spend more time doing the things they enjoy, like reminiscing with family, seeing old friends, or just relaxing. When surrounded by loved ones, hospice patients often describe the experience as a celebration of life, and many express wishing they had begun hospice care earlier.

"Hospice isn't something restricted to someone's last days. Hospice care can improve quality of life for several weeks or even months – meaningful time for a patient and their family,” says Dr. Charles Vialotti, resident Medical Director of Holy Name's Villa Marie Claire residential hospice facility.

In fact, several studies have shown that hospice care often prolongs life, with many terminally ill patients enjoying a more active and fulfilling life after ending invasive or painful treatments.

Hospice care can be prescribed whenever two physicians certify that a patient is expected to live less than six months and curative treatment has stopped. The creation of an individualized medical document called an "advance directive” can help outline personal choices for medical care well beforehand, ensuring your wishes are fulfilled and preventing loved ones from having to make stressful decisions.

Holy Name gives patients at any age or stage of life the opportunity to create an advance directive through a simple online portal, with professional advisors available to offer assistance and answer questions if necessary.

Holy Name offers hospice care at its Villa Marie Claire residential hospice facility in Saddle River – the region's leading residential hospice– as well as at-home hospice for those wishing to receive care in their own house. No matter the location, Holy Name's distinct care philosophy sees a multidisciplinary team of specialists provide holistic support to every patient, emphasizing the importance of family and the maintenance of a high quality of life.

"Hospice is healthcare that focuses on a patient's total well-being as they begin the final stage of their life,” Dr. Vialotti says. "Holy Name helps to make this a beautiful time to create new memories and share wisdom, laughter and love.”

For more information about hospice care at Holy Name, click here. To learn about creating your advance directive, click here.