Valley Hospice at Christian Health Care Center

A Q&A with Arnold Scham, MD, about Valley Hospice at Christian Health Care Center

A psychiatrist board-certified in psychiatry and hospice/palliative medicine, Dr. Scham is a member of the Christian Health Care Center Medical Staff and Medical Director of Valley Hospice.

Q. When is the right time to ask about hospice?

A. Hospice is palliative care during the last six months of a patient’s life. The “right” time to think about future goals and values in medical treatment is early in the illness. When a patient’s prognosis is six months or less, the transition to hospice is a natural extension of these goals. An advance directive is always helpful in this process.

Q. Who should make the decision?

A. Decisions having to do with medical treatment should always belong to the patient as long as he/she is competent. Decision-making should ideally include the patient’s health-care proxy, physician, nurses, social worker, and chaplain. Nevertheless, it is always the patient’s wishes to determine decisions about course of treatment.

Q. How does Valley Hospice at Christian Health Care Center manage pain?

A. Pain is only one of the many symptoms which are addressed. Management, therefore, involves medication for symptom relief and physical, emotional, and religious support.

Q. How is Valley Hospice at Christian Health Care Center unique?

A. It is unique because it encompasses two organizations which offer top-quality care. Christian Health Care Center offers complex levels of residential care. Valley Hospice provides outstanding hospice and palliative care. Working together, these two programs provide a unique coordination of treatment and care based on the patient’s wishes and goals.

Q. What type of support does Valley Hospice at Christian Health Care Center offer to family members?

A. The hospice team provides compassionate help and comfort needed throughout the course of the patient’s illness. Care for the family continues after the patient’s passing and includes individual and group grief counseling. Additionally, there is a program for children to receive help during the course of the patient’s illness and after his/her death.

For more information about Valley Hospice at Christian Health Care Center, call (201) 848-4463, email khockstein@chccnj.org, or visit our Hospice section.

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