Compassionate care supports both individuals and their families

WhidbeyHealth’s palliative care + hospice programs offer individualized approach to patients’ needs

As friends, family or loved ones age, unexpected events can derail even the healthiest person. Often friends and family need to step in and support when they least expect it.

National Family Caregivers Month is a good time to learn what Hospice Care and Palliative Care are – when and how to take advantage of these valuable and specialized services.

We caught up with Dr. Jerald Sanders and PC Cable to learn more about the Hospice and Palliative Care programs available at WhidbeyHealth.


Palliative care is an interdisciplinary medical approach to helping people living with any serious or debilitating illness like cancer, congestive heart failure, lung disease, kidney failure, liver disorder, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, or other forms of dementia.

Palliative care focuses on providing relief from the symptoms and stress with information, support, and resources to improve the overall quality of life for both the patient and their family.

Facing a long-term serious illness is not only challenging for the patient but can be very stressful for their family and caregivers.

Most people don’t understand the wide range of services available with Palliative care and when to ask for their help.

“Patients with terminal illness who engage the Palliative Care team early, generally have an easier journey with better outcomes, especially when transitioning into Hospice Care,” says PC Cable, RN.


Hospice teams provide family-centered, holistic, and compassionate end-of-life care for people with terminal illness. They help manage pain and symptoms, provide medication and supplies, as well as emotional support and respite for caregivers.

If patients or their families wait until the very end before introducing hospice, they can miss out on some of the many of resources available, says Dr. Jerald Sanders.

If patients or their families wait until the very end before introducing hospice, they can miss out on some of the many of resources available, says Dr. Jerald Sanders.

Hospice Care is appropriate when the patient, patient’s family, or patient’s physician determine the goal is comfort and quality of life and not further tests, procedures or treatments.

At WhidbeyHealth, our Hospice Care team works with each patient to determine their goals. Are they looking for quality of life or length of life?

“Often patients and/or their families wait until the very end before introducing hospice and miss the opportunity to have the benefits, resources and support available,” says Dr. Sanders.

Ideally a patient would be in Hospice Care for three to six months. During this time the WhidbeyHealth team will work with each patient to develop a plan based on their individual choices and circumstances.

They answer questions, helping both patient and family understand what’s possible and minimize additional burdens on the family so everyone is prepared.

Hospice care is usually provided at the patient’s home, allowing them to spend their final months surrounded by loved ones.


End of life does not have to be a crisis. WhidbeyHealth Hospice Care helps patients, and their families feel more prepared and comfortable, providing a dignified end-of-life journey.

We offer informational visits for those looking to learn more and better understand the benefits of each service.


Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurers typically cover palliative and hospice care services. It is similar to seeing other specialists such as cardiologists. Your primary care physician or specialist can refer you to Palliative and/or Hospice Care, or you can contact us directly.

Whether you or your loved one needs help with recovery, ongoing support with a serious illness or compassionate end-of-life care, our interdisciplinary team offers an individualized approach to meeting your specific needs.

LEARN MORE https://whidbeyhealth.org/hospice-and-palliative-care or Call at 360.914.5635.

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