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September is Pain Awareness Month

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Serious illness is often accompanied by pain, and controlling that pain can be difficult. Seeing a loved one experiencing pain and distress is hard on caregivers, too, who want their loved ones to get consistent and reliable relief to be able to live comfortably and enjoy good quality of life. This is also the goal at Joliet Area Community Hospice (JACH).

The hospice and palliative care programs of JACH focus on controlling pain, both physical and emotional, and providing as much comfort as possible for the patient and family. This can be achieved through medication, emotional and spiritual support, and complementary therapies. The JACH care team works with the patient and family to determine the best individualized plan of care. Medications may be introduced to alleviate pain at the lowest dose needed. Family members may fear addiction or the hastening of death with the use of opioids (eg morphine), however addiction is not an issue for hospice patients. Studies actually show that hospice patients often live longer once their symptoms are managed versus those not receiving hospice care.

Emotional pain can affect physical pain. JACH provides emotional and spiritual support through social workers and chaplains who visit the patient and address his/her needs. Complementary Therapies such as massage, aroma, reiki, music, and pet therapy may be used to help provide relaxation, comfort and relieve anxiety.

Beginning care soon after the diagnosis of a serious or terminal illness enables quicker symptom and pain management and allows patients a better quality of life for a longer time. If you or a loved one are considering hospice or palliative care, please contact Joliet Area Community Hospice for more information at 815.740.4104. Joliet Area Community Hospice is a not for profit hospice, palliative care, and bereavement services organization and a United Way Agency.