REDLANDS – While the Redlands Community Hospital generally concentrates on saving lives, its Home Health and Hospice Services department focuses on the other side of things – making sure that people are comfortable at the end of life.

On a regular visit to check on their Hospice patients, Hospice case manager Angella Waller and Hospice and Home Health director Gerry Smith paid a visit to a Hospice care facility in Redlands on Wednesday afternoon.

Waller sat and visited with two elderly dementia patients at a European Home Care facility, checking on their well being, while Smith checked in with facility owner Mina Rominu.

Rominu and her husband, Florin, turned their home into a home care facility about 10 years ago after Florin had difficulty finding boarding for his dying grandfather.

“November is National Home Care and Hospice month,” said Smith. “It allows time to recognize individuals who have dedicated themselves to this kind of work.

“Our slogan at Redlands Community Hospital is to take care of generations, the whole continuum of care,” she said.

The Hospice program helps make patients as comfortable as possible in their last years or months, in a wide variety of ways.

“Hospice is holistic,” Smith said, explaining that doctors and care providers use music, therapeutic touch, quiet atmospheres, pet therapy and other methods, in addition to medication, “to find what works for individual patients.

“It’s a collaborative effort,” she said. “It’s not just cookie cutter medicine.”

While many Hospice patients suffer from dementia, as the two Waller visited with on Wednesday, some are even younger, and dying from cancer or other terminal illnesses.

And Hospice care doesn’t end with the patient’s death, Waller said.

“We follow our families 13 months after the fact,” she said, noting that “family” includes anyone the patient thought of as family.

“We often hear from families, `We couldn’t have done it without you,”‘ Smith said. “I’m certain they’re stronger than that, but they have support.”