Autumn 2003
Hospice at Home

When you know that someone you love is coming to the end of his or her life, your own life can become overwhelming. Feelings of sorrow, stress, confusion, and helplessness may create an emotional fog that can make it hard for you, and your loved one, to plan. You may find yourself wondering, “What do I do next?”

Help is close at hand, right at home, from United Visiting Nurse Association’s Home Hospice program. And you can take comfort in the fact that your loved one doesn’t have to move to a hospice facility to get hospice services.

“We’re at the other end of the phone, 24/7, ready to reach out when you call on us for help,” says Karin Speer, RN, CHPN, (Certified Hospice and Palliative [relief-providing] Nurse), director of the program. “Our goals are to help you keep your loved one at home, to make whatever time your loved one has left as comfortable as possible, and also to reduce your own stress as a caregiver. You may never have been through this before, but we have, and we know what most often needs to be done.

“We urge you to call us months before you need us,” Karin adds, “We’re here to anticipate your upcoming needs and help make sure that you have everything you require, before you need it. The sooner you include us in your support sytem, the more we can do to help.

“Our first question to you and your loved one is: ‘Given your current abilities, what is the best way you can imagine spending your time?’ Then we go out of our way to make sure that’s what happens. We can even help with non-medical needs. One of our patients wanted to watch the birds outside his window…so we got him a window-mounted bird feeder,” Karin recalls.

United Home Hospice can provide a range of services, including—

Home Health Aides
High-tech pain management
Medical supplies and equipment, from commodes to oxygen and more
Pastoral care


Support groups for spouses, adult children, adolescents, and others
Education for caregivers
Respite services for caregivers (someone to stay awake with the patient while the caregiver gets a good night’s worry- free sleep)

Medicare covers home hospice care when the patient is expected to live for six months or less, but hospice care can be provided for longer than that if the need arises.

“Most terminally ill people tell us they would prefer to spend the time they have left at home—but not if it will be too stressful for their caretakers,” Karin says.

“We offer them the assurance that we will help the caregivers as well as the patients. And we continue to guide and teach the patient and family members until all are confident and comfortable in their ability to keep their loved one at home, with the support of United Home Hospice.”

For more information about United Home Hospice,
please call 203-330-9198. We are available to take your call 24/7.