There comes a time in many of our lives when we either take or are given the responsibility of caring for a seriously or terminally ill family member.

It is a hard job and unfortunately can be made harder by our confusing and fragmented national health-care system.

November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, and we’re reaching out to help our community understand the care options that are available to them and their loved ones.

Hospice is unique in that it offers an interdisciplinary team approach to treatment that includes expert medical care, comprehensive pain management and emotional and spiritual care when patients and their family are facing a likely life-limiting illness.

Caring for the whole person allows the team to address each patient’s unique needs and challenges.

In addition to caring for patients, hospice offers services for families and loved ones that provide emotional support and advice to help family members become confident caregivers and adjust to the future with grief support for up to a year.

The best time to learn about hospice — and to make plans for the kind of care you or a loved one would want — is before you are faced with a medical crisis.

One of the most frequent comments we hear from families is, “Why did we wait so long before calling hospice?”

If you or a loved one is facing a serious or life-limiting illness, the time to find out more about hospice care is right now.

As a nonprofit hospice provider, we make our nurses and social workers available to take your call to answer whatever questions you may have about hospice services and care.

Kristin Behrendsen,

Team Director,

Care Initiatives Hospice,

Sioux City