Lifestyle

Hospice expands to Federal Way

Federal Way residents who are facing a terminal illness have a new option for end-of-life care.

Franciscan Health System, which includes St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way and St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, has expanded its hospice service area to South King County.

Hospice is a form of care that involves the whole person, said Mark Rake-Marona, director of Franciscan Hospice. “That includes practical and spiritual needs as well as pain management.”

While most insurance plans — including Medicare — cover hospice care, many patients don’t take advantage of the benefits until the last stages of their illness, Rake-Marona said.

“We see most of our hospice patients after a medical crisis, and usually at the last three to four weeks of life,” he said. “Those who receive hospice for longer move beyond just dealing with pain control. For example, with counseling, they can get closure with family members and are able to contemplate what they think is going to happen to them when they die.”

Patients and their families should ask their doctors about hospice and their illness, Rake-Marona said. “Hospice can provide a whole safety net and layer of support that they probably won’t get anywhere else.”

Additional information is available at 671-7000 and www.fhs.org.

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