Compassionate Care: Palliative and Hospice Care

Compassionate Care at WhidbeyHealth

Compassionate Care: Palliative and Hospice Care  is contributed by WhidbeyHealth,  and is published in the 2024 Spring/Summer Edition of Vibrant Senior Options Resource Guide Magazine

As friends, family or loved ones age, unexpected events can derail even the healthiest person. Often friends and family need to step in and support when they least expect it. When thinking about your life’s health journey, it is important to learn what Palliative Care and Hospice are. Let’s take a closer look at the Palliative Care and Hospice services available at WhidbeyHealth.

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is an interdisciplinary medical approach to helping people living with any serious or debilitating illness like cancer, congestive heart failure, lung disease, kidney failure, liver disorder, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.
Palliative care focuses on providing relief from the symptoms and stress with information, support, and resources to improve the overall quality of life for the patient and their family.
Facing a long-term serious illness is not only challenging for the patient but can be very stressful for their family and caregivers. Most people don’t understand the wide range of services available with Palliative care.
“Patients with terminal illness who engage our Palliative Care team, generally have an easier journey with better outcomes, especially when transitioning to Hospice.” Carla Jolley, ARNP

What is Hospice?

Hospice teams provide family-centered, holistic and compassionate end-of-life care for people with terminal illness. They help manage pain and symptoms, provide medication and supplies, as well as emotional support and respite for caregivers.

Hospice services are appropriate when a patient, their family, and their physician determine the goals are comfort and quality of life with no further tests, procedures or treatments. WhidbeyHealth Hospice team works with each patient to determine their goals.

Is the patient looking for quality of life or length of life?

Ideally a patient would be in Hospice for 3-6 months. During this time the WhidbeyHealth team will work with each patient to develop a plan based on individual choices and circumstances. Hospice services are typically provided at the patient’s home, allowing them to spend their final months surrounded by loved ones.

“Often patients or their families wait until the very end before introducing hospice and miss the opportunity to have the benefits, resources and support available.” Dr. Shana Fogarty

Planning Ahead

End-of-life does not have to be a crisis. WhidbeyHealth Hospice services help patients and their families feel more prepared and comfortable, providing a dignified end-of-life journey. We offer informational visits for those looking to learn more and better understand the benefits of each service.


Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurers typically cover palliative and hospice services. It is similar to seeing other specialists such as a cardiologist. Your primary care physician or specialist can refer you to Palliative Care and Hospice services, or you can contact us directly. Whether you or your loved one needs help with recovery, ongoing support with a serious illness, or compassionate end-of-life care, our interdisciplinary team offers an individualized approach to meet your specific needs.

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