The National Legislative Perspective
years, public discourse surrounding the issue of medical care for
the terminally ill has been dominated by the issue of physician-assisted
suicide. Unfortunately, missing from this national dialogue has
been a discussion of the alternative of hospice care. I am grateful
to have this opportunity to express my strong support for Connecticut's
recently-launched Physician Assisted Living (PAL) Partners Initiative,
which is designed to educate Connecticut's citizens about the choices
available to them when faced with a terminal illness.
advances in medicine that have saved or extended countless lives
have also increased the numbers of patients faced with prolonged
illnesses. Hospice care offers individuals for whom a cure is no
longer possible the opportunity to live the remainder of their lives
in a supportive environment under the care of specially trained
medical professionals. Unlike traditional hospital care, which is
directed primarily toward curing or ameliorating illness, hospice
services focus on managing pain and providing psychological, sociological,
and spiritual support for patients and their families. However,
despite the tremendous benefits that hospice services can provide
to those who chose them, many patients, families, and even providers
remain unaware of the existence of these services.
principles of hospice care are grounded in the belief that individuals
should have the right to make their own decisions about the type
of care they would wish to receive when confronted by a terminal
illness. The PAL program will help support this decision-making
by educating Connecticut residents about their options for end-of-life
care. Through this program, state residents will be informed about
the availability of hospice care and can receive a document, to
be signed and delivered to their doctors, explaining their desire
to receive hospice care in the event of terminal illness. This allows
patients the opportunity to think about alternatives and commit
to them in writing prior to such time as they become incapacitated.
proud that the first hospice established in the nation was in Connecticut.
PAL continues our proud tradition of compassionate care.
Christopher J. Dodd,
The Helping Hand from Hospice
is a profound and important value that underlies the work that Hospice
does. It is that this great gift of life that God has given us goes
from the very beginning to the very end, and from the very beginning
to the very end is sacred and deserves the kind of love and respect
and compassionate care that is provided here at Hospice.
way and in a marvelous affirmation, I think Hospice, as it helps
people approach the end of life, really pays tribute to life in
as meaningful a way as I know. All of us have been or will be touched
by it. Each of us has our own special memories, and if I may take
the liberty of being personal, when my father of blessed memory
was in his last days, I can remember so clearly his effort to maintain
his dignity, to continue to remain involved with the rest of us
in the family. In conversation I remember also the wonderful home
care we received at that time through Hospice, which helped my dad
to do all of those things. It was care given in a most respectful
way, it was care given in a way that preserved his dignity and,
although he was weakened, preserved his strength. I shall never
forget it, We in the family, thanks to Hospice, and also thanks
to my dad, really felt that he was with us to the very last second
of his life.
improve our health-care system, it is critical to remember, hold
dear, and enact the values that are reflected in this hospice program:
the underlying belief in the sanctity of life from the beginning
to the end, the importance of caring, and the quality of care; it
is important to remember that we are people trying to help people.
Joseph I. Lieberman,