Cheering more end-of-life options

Hospice Southeastern Connecticut has something to cheer about; the passing of modernized hospice residence regulations by the Legislature's Regulations Review Committee recently.

By a unanimous vote, the committee approved Department of Public Health regulations that move Connecticut into the 21st century and will allow greater options in end of life care to patients and families.

The new regulations are a victory for patients and their families who need a local option and will allow hospice agencies in the state to build modern, private room hospice residences for patients who cannot receive care in their home or where they call home.

Hospice Southeastern Connecticut thanks the state Department of Public Health, the federal and state legislative delegations, particularly Rep. Betsy Ritter in her role as co-chair of the Public Health Committee and all of the citizens who supported this much needed update to Connecticut's hospice residence regulations. Everyone working in concert and with the best interest of patients and families always at the forefront has ensured that there is now an option for quality residential hospice care close to home.

The vote will allow Hospice Southeastern Connecticut to move forward with our vision to build a hospice residence right on our Norwich campus for the people of eastern Connecticut. It will also allow Hospice Southeastern Connecticut to continue to be a center for hospice care for New London County as it has for the past 27 years.

Connecticut started as the leader in hospice care in the United States and with these new regulations, will continue to offer patients and families the full continuum of hospice care close to home as they confront end of life decisions.

Hospice Southeastern Connecticut provides care in the home and often in skilled nursing facilities for those approaching the end of their life, regardless of age, disease or inability to pay.

The organization also provides bereavement services for families in New London County free of charge, regardless of whether their loved one received hospice care.

Hospice Southeastern Connecticut is a community-based, nonprofit health care agency in New London County. It is the only regional hospice affiliated with both Lawrence & Memorial Hospital and The William W. Backus Hospital. It is Medicare/Medicaid certified, state licensed, and CHAP accredited. Hospice Southeastern Connecticut has been the hospice of choice for nearly 9,500 families since 1985.

Our appreciation goes out to all who made this happen.

Jeffrey Nelson is the director of community development for Hospice Southeastern Connecticut.

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