ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Making the decision to use ‘end-of-life care’ can be tough, but hospice workers say their goal is to provide comfort to the patient and lighten the load on families.

Vice President of Business Development at Good Samaritan Hospice, Scotti Hartman explained, “When hospice enters the picture, typically it’s when the patient has six months or less of life, and that depends completely on the disease trajectory that they are experiencing.”

When a physician says they’ve exhausted all of their means of treatment, hospice could be the next step. Hartman told WFXR that in-home hospice offers a number of benefits for families. She said, “We have our wonderful nursing staff, our counselors that are there, our social workers, our hospice aids that are there in the home, and also our spiritual assistants.”

In-home hospice provides care for patients around the clock. They also have volunteers help out with making patients comfortable in their homes.

Kim Shelor is a volunteer who used in-home hospice for both of her parents. When going to and from doctor’s appointments became too overwhelming, she made the decision to begin at-home hospice care. It made her available to spend more quality time with them, especially her dad whose memory was slowly fading during a battle with dementia.

Recently, Shelor’s mother made the same decision. She passed away in October. Now Shelor continues to remember and honor them through her volunteer work with others in hospice.

Hartman added, “So often people think that hospice means that that’s the end and its a turning away of hope, and we want it to mean the opposite. That this is where we acknowledge what’s in front of us, but we say this is how we’re going to own this time, and this is how we’re going to make the absolute most and best of the time that we have together.”