November is a time of giving thanks for all our blessings. It also happens to be National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, a great opportunity to engage with local hospices and learn more about the value of hospice and palliative care. This is a time to honor the millions of nurses, home care aides, therapists, hospice care workers and social workers who make a difference every day for the patients and families they serve. These heroic caregivers play a vital role in our health care system, so let’s raise awareness about the highest quality care for all people going through end-of-life care in San Mateo and elsewhere. Indeed, it’s a wonderful sentiment to follow all the year through.

Hospice care workers are skilled professionals that provide medical, emotional, nutritional and even spiritual care to those with long-term and terminal illnesses — plus they provide support to the family members. Hospice workers include nurses, social workers, therapists and more. It takes compassion and care to be a hospice care worker, as well as patience and endurance, as hours are long and unpredictable.  Not only do they provide care for their patients, they also lessen the burden on families.

It takes a special kind of person to work in hospice. Whether you’re the one in hospice or you have a family member in hospice, let’s take the time to thank your hospice care staff. Here are some ideas on how to show them appreciation for their hard work and dedication.

Write a Heartfelt Thank-You Note

A well-written, well thought out and sincere thank you note will go a long way. Hospice workers sacrifice a lot to care for your loved one, often times sacrificing time with their own families. A letter showing them how much you appreciate their time and loving care can make their day or even year. Express how much they have helped you throughout this tough time, citing specific examples. This will strengthen the bond and feelings of trust you have both developed while caring for the patients’ health and comfort.

Provide Feedback to the Hospice Care Facility

In order to ensure your thanks goes well above the worker him or herself, write a letter or call the hospice care facility to sing the praises of the care giver. It’s best to write a letter, which can be kept in the employee’s file or even posted in a break room or noteworthy area. Giving recognition to the caregiver’s boss will let them know how much you appreciate not just that person but the facility as a whole.

Bring Them Treats

As a token of your appreciation, you can bake them some cookies or bring them a basket of mini muffins, or perhaps pick up an extra coffee on your way in every morning. Often times, hospice workers have little time for a rest or break. A little treat in the middle of their day offers a much-needed pick me up and shows you are thinking of them. You may also consider including a small gift card in a greeting card, perhaps to their favorite coffee shop or movie theater. Keep in mind, though, some hospice care organizations have limitations and restrictions on what hospice care workers can accept as gifts. It’s a good idea to check with the administrator of the facility before giving gift cards or cash to an individual. However, a nice box of chocolates or fruit basket are always nice sights in the break room for tired workers.


You can always give back by volunteering your time. Ask the hospice organization if there are any volunteer opportunities at the facility, or if they can recommend any other similar community groups that welcome volunteers. Check out the hospice care provider’s website or call and ask to speak with a volunteer coordinator. You can make a difference in many ways, from supporting patients to providing child care assistance. There’s also fundraising and administrative work that could be done. You may have to be over the age of 18, but some facilities welcome high schoolers to volunteer.

Donate to the Hospice Organization

If you cannot volunteer your time, a donation to the hospice organization is always appreciated. Hospice care providers and the charitable organizations they are associated with are often vastly underfunded so that basic needs, services and supplies often go unmet. A generous gift of money in your loved one’s name is a wonderful way to say thank you to the people who help you every day. If your loved one has recently passed on after being in hospice, you may consider making a donation to the hospice organization in lieu of flowers at a funeral or memorial service. You can ask friends and family to donate to the specified organization, including that information in the obituary or service program.

Reach Out

Throughout the month of November, and indeed all throughout the year, take some time out of your day to speak a kind word to a hospice care worker. Give them a hug, express your thanks, and just let them know you appreciate the good job they’re doing. A kind word means the world to someone who works with terminally ill patients all day, every day.

Contact Pathways Home Health and Hospice

Learn more about our compassionate hospice program when you contact us at 888-978-1306.