Dr. Bell explains Arkansas Hospice & Arkansas Palliative Care services

By arhospice on August 2nd, 2022

Arkansas Hospice Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brian Bell recently appeared on KTHV Channel 11’s morning program “The Vine” as part of its “Celebrating Seniors” campaign. During the program, Dr. Bell and host Ashley King discussed what Arkansas Hospice and Arkansas Palliative Care are, the importance of advance care plans, and how you can support our mission.

Below are just a few of Dr. Bell’s insights from this in-depth discussion.

Arkansas Hospice

Arkansas Hospice is the state’s largest nonprofit provider of hospice care, Dr. Bell said. The nonprofit organization provides care in 43 counties and cares for patients of all ages, including children, oftentimes in their own homes.

“We take care of you where you’re at,” Dr. Bell said. “So, if you’re in the nursing facility, if you’re in an assisted living facility, or most of the time if you’re at home, we bring all that care – all those clinicians – to those places and take care of you in those places.”

While many people associate hospice care with the last days of life, the reality is that Arkansas Hospice cares for those with a life-limiting prognosis of 6 months or less – and strives to help them make the most of whatever time they have left.

“People think hospice is about death, but really it’s about maximizing your quality of life for however days or weeks or months or years you have left,” Dr. Bell explained. “That’s our goal.”

Additionally, hospice care benefits not only the patients, but also their caregivers and families, offering 13 months of grief support after the patient’s death.

Arkansas Palliative Care

While both hospice care and palliative care focus on quality of care and quality of life, Dr. Bell said that palliative care can be provided at any time during an illness.

“We meet people where they are,” Dr. Bell said. “We meet them where their illness is today and help them get to where they want to be.”

Additionally, palliative care patients can continue receiving curative treatments, such as dialysis or chemotherapy.

Advance Care Plans

Advance Care plans allow individuals to express their wishes for life-sustaining care in case they are unable to communicate. However, many never take to time to complete these important documents or discuss their end-of-life wishes with their loved ones.

“I always say that we’re the author of our own story. We write the chapters,” Dr. Bell said. “Unfortunately, people don’t always pen the last chapter.”

Dr. Bell explained that advance care plans can be completed by anyone over the age of 18 and that laws are unique to each state. Also, they should be shared with doctors and loved ones, rather than placed in a lock box or hidden away, he said.

Most importantly, advance care plans help reduce stress for loved ones during an already difficult time.

“It lifts that burden off their chest,” Dr. Bell said. “Now they can be that caring daughter or caring spouse and just love that person and not be focused on those decisions.”

He urged viewers, “Give your family and your loved ones that final gift.”

Arkansas Hospice Foundation

During the final segment of their discussion, Dr. Bell explained that Arkansas Hospice is a nonprofit organization that cares for the most vulnerable and needy – and that some of its services are not reimbursed.

The Arkansas Hospice Foundation helps support the mission of Arkansas Hospice, which is “to enhance the quality of life for those facing serious illness and loss by surrounding them with love and embracing them with the best in physical, emotional and spiritual care.”

“Please help support these deserving families and these deserving patients to make sure they have that care when they need it,” Dr. Bell urged.

Please click here to watch Dr. Bell’s entire interview from the July 27th episode of “The Vine.”

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