Hospice services in archdiocese offer comfort, respect dignity

| October 25, 2012 | 0 Comments

Catholic Senior Services, a consortium of all Catholic senior care providers who serve the elderly in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, has information about hospice and palliative care resources in the archdiocese.

Hospice provides comfort care and pain or symptom management as the primary focus when curative treatment is no longer the patient’s choice or option, said Deacon Dan Gannon, president of Catholic Senior Services.

Palliative care — focused on relieving the pain, symptoms and stress of illness — is appropriate for anyone living with a serious condition, regardless of the prognosis, in order to provide an extra layer of support, he said.

Franciscan Health Community, a CSS affiliate based in St. Paul, is the only Catholic licensed provider of hospice services in the archdiocese, Deacon Gannon said.

“Catholic hospices carefully adhere to the moral teaching of the Church regarding end of life and profoundly respect the dignity of the human person and the redemptive power of suffering and reconciliation,” he added.

Offering extra support

Other CSS affiliates bring hospice teams from providers such Franciscan Health Community in St. Paul and Allina into their facilities, and they ensure those services are provided according to Catholic teaching, Deacon Gannon said.

“A hospice team — usually including a chaplain, a social worker and a nurse — is there to attend to a patient during their final days, weeks or months,” said John LeBlanc, director of development, marketing and communications of St. Therese, a faith-based senior care and housing organization with locations in New Hope, Brooklyn Park and Shoreview.

The team provides extra support to ensure patients are receiving medications, pastoral care and other services they need, he said.

Franciscan Health Community runs Our Lady of Peace Hospice, which provides Medicare-certified home hospice services as well as services that supplement those provided by the nursing home staff at Our Lady of Peace Home, a skilled nursing care facility for patients with cancer.

Through the St. Paul-based organization, hospice services are provided to residents of St. Therese at St. Odilia — an eight bedroom residential home located on the campus of St. Odilia parish in Shoreview — and residents of other care facilities who desire hospice care, said Joe Stanislav president and CEO of Franciscan Health Community.

Clearing misconceptions

“The general public is gradually recognizing the benefits of hospice care, especially its emphasis on quality of life and pain management at end of life,” Stanislav said.

But there are still some misconceptions about palliative and hospice care.

“One misconception is that accepting hospice will result in greater levels of pain experienced or that death will come sooner, when in fact the opposite is true,” Stanislav said.

“As Catholic health care providers we are called to continue Christ’s ministry to those suffering from illness,” Stanislav said.

“Hospice and palliative care are an extension of his mission by caring for the minds, bodies and souls of our patients.”

Need more information?
Catholic Senior Services

  • Lists all Catholic senior care providers in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, their services and links to their websites.
  • Provides links to the Minnesota Catholic Conference’s health care directive; the National Catholic Bioethics Center; the text of the “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services” as well as statements and documents from the Holy See.
  • Offers senior-related news and articles.
  • Lists parish programming and education resources.

Franciscan Health Community

  • Hospice and home care information.

Catholic Medical Association

  • Statements and papers on end-of-life and palliative care.

Minnesota Catholic Conference

  • Public policy initiatives and statements from the bishops of Minnesota, Catholic health care directive.

The Catholic Cemeteries

  • Burial and bereavement resources.


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Category: Funeral & Hospice Planning