Most of us remember someone who helped us during difficult times in our lives - a parent, grandparent, a special teacher, or perhaps a stranger that became a friend. The recollections of these "faces of caring" bring comfort and calm in the midst of crisis.
Yet when recalling end-of-life situations of those we love, many of us have different recollections. These memories may include the hurt on the face of a loved one in pain; the sorrow on the face of a family member who did not get the opportunity to say good-bye to a dying relative; the agony of a parent holding a precious child whose life was cut so short; the stress on the faces of those making difficult decisions about end-of-life choices without guidance.
November is national Hospice/Palliative Care Month, a time when professionals and volunteers work to raise awareness of this invaluable system of care. Hospice and palliative care puts a "face" on quality end-of-life care - the faces of nurses, doctors, social workers, spiritual caregivers, homecare aides and volunteers who provide services and support to families during one of life's most challenging times.