Mayor Tab Townsell read a proclamation at City Hall Friday morning in recognition of November being national hospice and palliative care month.

Townsell said he’s heard many people say they wish they knew about hospice care sooner.

"They aren’t living with as much life in their days because they don’t know about organizations like [Hospice Home Care]," he said.

The Hospice Home Care staff in Little Rock approached Gov. Mike Beebe’s office about raising awareness for hospice and palliative care. Beebe has planned a proclamation for Nov. 4 at the state capital.

Now each regional office in the state is approaching local mayors in an attempt to raise awareness on a local level.

Hospice Home Care of Conway was present at Friday’s proclamation including nurses, administrators and staff. The Conway office serves eight counties including Cleburne, Conway, Faulkner, Perry, Pope, Searcy, Van Buren and Yell counties.

Hospice and palliative care come into play when a patient makes the decision with their family to stop seeking curative measures, said Jacalyn Glenn, community education specialist.

Many feel you have to be diagnosed with a terminal illness such as cancer to seek hospice care, Glenn said, but we treat patients with a variety of diagnoses such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease and Alzheimer’s and Dementia to name a few.

Glenn said many people associate hospice care with death, but that’s not what we do, she said.

Nicky Allen LPN had a patient who was obsessed with butterflies, so she took her to the Butterfly Palace in Branson, Mo., where she was able to view hundreds of exotic butterflies in a tropical aviary environment.

Glenn said her nurses are special people who do wonderful work.

"They must be a special person with a special heart - we call it having a hospice heart," she said.

"I’ve heard a patient say, ‘I got to see my kids play their first soccer game, and I’ve heard a patient say, ‘I haven’t had any pain in 18 months,’" said Gayle Hay LPN.

Hay had one patient who wanted to go to Tunica every weekend, so Hay got her a portable oxygen tank so she could go.

During one of her trips to the casinos, Hay’s patient won a car from a raffle drawing.

"Our motto is ‘Adding life to days when days can no longer be added to life,’" Hay said.

Not only do we treat the medical side, we treat all sides including social and spiritual, Glenn said. "We support families up to 13 months after loved ones pass," she said.

The staff also participates in volunteer activities that don’t come out of the company budget such as donating toys and food for families in need.

"We had a single mom with three children," Glenn said. "They didn’t have a TV set, so we bought them one. We also gathered toys, food and clothing."

The majority of Hospice Home Care’s patients are cared for in their homes, Glenn said, but services can be provided in a relative’s home, assisted living center or nursing home.

"It’s wherever a patient considers home," she said.

Scotty Davis RN said many people don’t realize how helpful hospice care can be.

"Many people don’t realize until it’s too late that we could have come in so much earlier to give them better quality of life," he said. "I can’t tell you how many people have said, ‘I wish I would have known earlier.’"

(Staff writer Michelle Corbet can be reached by email at michelle.corbet@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1215. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)