World Hospice Day is observed internationally on the second Saturday of each October. Unfortunately only half of the world’s countries have access to hospice care.

In our own community, where Hope Hospice and Community Services offers care to people of all ages who have a life-limiting illness, there are still those who do not yet know about the care we provide. They do not know that they can be living a better, more comfortable life at this crucial time. Hope cares for each individual, addressing their own needs. We help the entire family with the challenges they are facing.

The goal of World Hospice Day is to raise awareness of how the medical, emotional and spiritual support available through hospice can make a positive difference for everyone.

One fundamental goal in hospice care is to enable people to maintain their dignity. Bono, of the Irish rock band U2, whose father was a hospice patient, said, “In life, you try your best to hold on tight to your dignity; in death sometimes others have to hold onto it for you. How we care for the sick and dying is surely a litmus test of our humanity.”

One of our hospice patients, in his nineties, enjoys playing the harmonica. We make sure he always has an audience when he wants one, and we look forward to seeing the smile on his face as he hears our applause. As a Hope Hospice patient, he is living his life. Our role is to enable each patient to live life as fully as possible, in comfort and with dignity. Hospice is about living.

The earlier that a person chooses hospice, the more we can help in relieving their pain, easing their emotional stress and helping the family to cope.

Hope is working to make our community a better place by offering our services to everyone in need, regardless of their ability to pay, age, type of illness or any other life circumstance. We are a resource for making informed decisions about end-of-life care. Raising everyone’s awareness of this is the purpose of World Hospice Day.