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Hospice Care Helps People Heal At Home

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RALEIGH — Most of us, especially women, will take care of our elderly parents and spouses at the end of their lives. Hospices are non-profit groups that provide medical and emotional support to help make this difficult task a little bit easier.

William Boyce, 88, has leukemia. For several years, Wake County Hospice workers have been coming to his home to help with medical, personal and emotional needs.

Boyce says he looks forward to them coming, and so does his wife, 87-year-old Virginia.

When someone leaves the hospital after major surgery or after being diagnosed with a serious illness, they arrive home with a lot of needs, needs that can be overwhelming for the family.

Hospice help gives Virginia Boyce the break she needs.

"I have to wait on him all day long, and when they come in, I relax," says Virginia Boyce.

"We're going in not to take over care, but to empower patients and families to be able to handle this situation in their own home," says Hospice Nurse Betty Sawyer.

And home is where most people want to be when they are facing death. Hospice workers have touched William Boyce's heart deeply.

"Hospice is the nicest organization I've ever been involved with," Boyce says.

There are 3,000 hospices in the United States. Most require a doctor's referral and can be paid for with Medicaid or health insurance. To find the hospice closest to you, ask your doctor or call the National Hospice Organization at (800) 658-8898.

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Amanda Lamb, Reporter
John Cox, Photographer
Julie Moos, Web Editor

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