At first, Blaine was reluctant to allow his wife, Jenny, to call for hospice care. He was uncomfortable thinking about strangers being in his home when he was ill. "Knowing that I needed help with his care, he finally agreed to try hospice," Jenny said. "Not long after the team members began to arrive, he began to look forward to their time with him. He became more relaxed than I had seen him at any time during his illness. The support they gave us both was immeasurable and extraordinarily comforting. Most precious of all, they gave us time together apart from the illness." Hospice does more than just take care of the medical aspect of a patient. The staff helps to guide the family through paperwork, respite care and other important end-of-life issues. Once Blaine enrolled with hospice, he was asked how he wanted to spend his time. Blaine's case manager, who is a registered nurse, developed a care plan based on Blaine's needs and goals. His nurse set up her visits based on the care plan and communicated the care plan with Blaine's doctor, who reviewed and provided further direction. The hospice chief medical officer also reviewed the care plan and made suggestions to the team. A certified nursing assistant was assigned to help Jenny with some of her husband's personal care and even provided some light housekeeping. Everything was done to make sure Blaine was as comfortable and pain-free as possible. Jenny said she appreciated the time the team spent making sure she was confident when she was alone caring for Blaine. She knew that the hospice team was just a phone call away, and they could be contacted anytime day or night. Physical care was just one aspect of providing help for Blaine and Jenny. Hospice provided other team members who supported many issues a serious illness brings. Blaine's social worker provided emotional support and counseling and helped Jenny access further assistance from community resources. He worked closely with family and friends, reducing the stress of insurance paperwork and to sort out the confusing emotions that come when facing serious illness. Jenny also requested a volunteer to be with Blaine when she needed to be away from home to run errands or attend church. This needed respite from constant care allowed her to keep a balance and a fresh approach. Although Blaine's church pastor made regular visits, he was also thankful for the hospice spiritual care provider who visited. Their conversations were sometimes very personal as Blaine was able to discuss private thoughts. Jenny was amazed at the quick bond that formed between the two and the calmness she saw in her husband after those visits. One of Blaine's troubling concerns was leaving Jenny alone. He was relieved to know that the hospice bereavement team would support her long after he was gone; it gave him great comfort to know that in choosing hospice, he had also found a way to once again provide for Jenny. Shelley J Steiner is marketing and community relations director for Hospice of Washington County, Inc.