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In medieval times, travelers who were sick or weary found rest from long journeys in a special place. A hospice. Today, Bedford Hospice Care continues this tradition through home visits and support.

Hospice is a concept of care that offers sanctuary to individuals and families who are nearing the end of the most amazing journey of all: life. Hospice differs from traditional health care because our focus is not on curing. Instead, we reach out with care that emphasizes patient comfort and provides support for families.

Admission to Hospice

Physicians recommend hospice based on specific criteria. Hospice may be appropriate for patients of any age, including infants and children, who:

• Face terminal illness
• Have a life expectancy of six months or less, if the illness runs its usual course
• Wish to focus on quality of life
• Want interdisciplinary care of the patient and family who is facing a chronic or terminal illness with a focus primarily on comfort and support palliative care)
• Do notwant aggressive, curative therapy

In all cases, the physician remains actively involved in patient care and certifies that the patient is appropriate for hospice. Hospice patients often include those with:
>Advanced cancer
>Advanced heart, kidney, liver or lung disease
>Advanced neuromuscular disease
>End-Stage Alzheimer’s

Cost of Care

Hospice care may be covered by Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance. For details, contact Bedford Hospice Care.

Special Hospice Programs

Our Care
Bedford Hospice Care emphasizes an organized approach to care during the last phase of life. Our goal is to support each individual as they fulfill the final steps in their journey. Our services reach out to the entire family and extend through the bereavement period. Hospice services are tailored to meet each patient’s individual needs. There are many benefits to receiving hospice care including:

• Supportive palliative care provided by an interdisciplinary team
• Scheduled visits and 24-hour on-call registered nursing support
• Expert symptom control emphasizing pain management
• Assistance enabling patients and families to maintain as much control over the circumstances of the illness as possible
• Guidance for families on how care for loved ones in the comfort of home
• A supportive alternative environment when home care is not possible
• Emotional and spiritual care as appropriate
• Community-wide education and consultation programs for patients, families and healthcare providers
• Bereavement support for families for at least one year following loss of the patient

Palliative Care
From the word palliate, meaning to alleviate symptoms, palliative care is often called comfort care. It focuses on pain and symptom management. The goal is to maintain the highest possible quality of life for each patient. Palliative care includes not only medical intervention, but also emotional and spiritual support and guidance. It can help with:

• Pain and physical symptoms like fatigue, nausea, constipation, poor sleep, loss of appetite and weight loss
• Emotional issues including depression and anxiety
• Medical decisions to respect individual goals and beliefs
• Advance directives (documents that record patient choices for life support and appoint a decision-maker to act if patients become unable to choose for themselves)
• Palliative care helps patients and families
• Prepare for the details associated with the end of life
• Deal with complicated feelings
• Find ways to feel better

Grief Counseling
When you lose someone you love, the pain can seem overwhelming. You may wonder if the heartache will ever go away. Sometimes it helps to know that you are not alone.

Journey of Hope
The Journey of Hope support group brings together individuals who have lost loved ones throughout the community. This special support group is coordinated by caring hospice professionals. Groups meet at scheduled times in each of our hospice communities. They offer support, guidance and understanding to help you cope with your loss. For more information, contact the Bedford Hospice.

Special Counseling
Educational presentations on topics such as “Coping with Grief during the Holidays” are held throughout the year. These may be scheduled in the workplace or at a school by request. Special counseling sessions or support groups may be scheduled on job sites or at school locations when there has been a loss.

Complementary Therapies

Patient comfort is our primary consideration. We use traditional pain and stress relief techniques. We also offer a variety of less conventional therapies. Physically, these techniques promote comfort, reduce stress and encourage relaxation. Emotionally, they improve inner peace and cultivate a stronger sense of purpose.
Complimentary therapies may include:

• Massage
• Therapeutic touch
• Reiki
• Music therapy
• Pet therapy
• Guided imagery
• Aromatherapy
• Art therapy
• Reflexology
• Hypnotherapy
• Humor therapy
• Yoga exercises
• Arts and crafts

Offerings depend on location.

Pediatric Care

At the Bedford Hospice, we understand that nearing the end of life with a child is likely the hardest struggle any family will face. Each child is special, and each plan for care is unique. Our care is based not only on medical diagnosis, but also with respect for the child’s age, physical and social development. We work hand in hand with the Carilion Clinic Children’s Hospital, pediatric specialty clinics and the child’s family physician.

Our efforts encourage a high quality of family life because every moment spent together is invaluable.

Camp Treehouse

Losing a loved one is never easy. For children who may be experiencing death for the first time, it can be particularly hard. That’s why the Carilion Clinic Hospice sponsors Camp Treehouse. Open to any child age 6-17 who has had a loved one die, Camp Treehouse is a fun, nurturing setting where young people can explore their feelings and concerns. At Camp Treehouse, kids meet others their own age who know what it is like to lose a loved one. Through activities such as art, music and games, they explore their feelings, share their memories and remember their loved ones.

Parents or guardians are invited attend also. Adults take part in sessions to help them understand how a child grieves and ways they can help meet their children’s needs. There is no charge for the event which is held twice each year.

Partners in Care

When a patient is newly diagnosed with a serious illness, medical care usually focuses on finding a cure. Depending on the stage of the disease or how the person responds to treatment, it may become necessary to redirect that focus. As it becomes necessary, Partners in Care helps with the transition from curative to palliative care.

Partners in care provides support for patients and families dealing with life-limiting illness.


Death is a uniquely personal experience. No two families handle it the same way. Following the death of each patient, hospice reaches out by holding memorial services, attending the funeral, offering one-on-one family counseling, providing home visits to help families through the bereavement process, and offering bereavement support for at least one year following the loss.


Bedford Hospice Care is committed to reaching out to the community to provide needed services and information. “Journey of Hope,” a special bereavement support group, meets at Bedford Memorial Hospital. Meetings are open to anyone who may be dealing with the loss of a loved one. To learn more, contact the Bedford Hospice office at 587-6592.

Our hospice staff also offers presentations to clubs, churches, civic groups and other healthcare agencies. Contact the office manager for a list of speakers and topics.

Volunteers at Bedford Hospice Care

Volunteers visit patients, provide support and companionship and share interests, hobbies, and light recreational activities. They may listen, hold a hand, prepare a light meal, run an errand, perform simple household chores, provide transportation, and become a friend.

Volunteers may provide continuing support to families during bereavement. Each volunteer helps to meet the unique needs of a hospice family according to his or her own personal skills, interest, and time. Volunteers may also assist with office tasks or with memorial and/or educational events.

If you are interested in learning more about hospice volunteers, call 540-587-6592 or download an application that you can fill out.