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What Services Does Your Hospice Team Provide?

Hospice care is for people who are near the end of their lives. These services are provided by a team of health care professionals who provide maximum comfort for terminally ill people by reducing pain and satisfying physical, psychological, social, and spiritual needs.

What exactly does Hospice do?

To help the family, hospice provides counseling, respite care, and practical support. Unlike typical health care, the focus of hospice care is not to cure the underlying disease. The goal is to support the highest quality of life possible in the remaining time your loved one has.

What services are included in hospice care?

Hospice staff is on standby 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Ready to meet the patient wherever they call home.

A hospice care team typically includes:


Primary care doctors and hospice doctors or medical directors will supervise care. Each patient can choose an attending doctor as their primary caregiver. This can be your previous doctor or hospice doctor.


The nurse will visit you or your loved one to provide care. They are also responsible for coordinating the hospice team.

Family Health Assistant

A home health aid that provides additional support for daily care, such as dressing, bathing, and eating.

Spiritual Counselor

Pastors, priests, or other spiritual counselors can provide spiritual care and guidance for the entire family.

Social Worker

Social workers provide advice and support. They can also provide recommendations for other support systems.


A pharmacist provides medication supervision and advice on the most effective way to relieve symptoms.


Well-trained volunteers provide a variety of services. They range from providing companionship or respite opportunities for caregivers, to helping with transportation or other practical needs.

Other Professionals

If needed, speech, physical, and occupational therapists can provide treatment.

Bereavement Counselor

Trained bereavement counselors provide care and guidance after a loved one dies in hospice care.

Treatment and Support

Once patients receive hospice care, they will receive routine care designed to maximize comfort and quality of life. Routine care may include pain management, symptom management, and spiritual counseling for patients and family members. Even daily work assistance, nutrition services, and treatment services.

You can provide regular hospice care wherever you call home; whether it is in a professional nursing facility, assisted living facility, memory care facility, or your own house. Care will be performed intermittently according to the needs of the patient.

Sometimes called crisis care, when loved ones experience a medical crisis or their symptoms require more in-depth management, they may require continuous hospice care.

During this kind of medical crisis, round-the-clock care or extended care time is good for patients and their families, giving caregivers the opportunity to withdraw from hands-on care and focus on taking on family roles with their loved ones.

If the patient’s symptoms cannot be managed at home, they may need to be hospitalized. The goal here is to control severe pain and stabilize symptoms so that the patient can go home if possible. Some people may choose to spend their last days in an inpatient center as a neutral and safe space with their families and loved ones.

Inpatient hospice care centers also provide temporary care for home hospice. These occasional short-term hospitalizations can provide much-needed rest time for relatives who provide care at home while allowing people to receive proper, round-the-clock symptom management.

Customized Levels of Care

Your doctor or hospice team will provide you with guidance throughout your hospice journey and determine the appropriate level of hospice care for you or your loved ones.

In the four levels of hospice care, the concept remains the same: provide professional medical care and emotional support, and respect the unique wishes of patients. Knowing when and where to provide hospice care is the first step in understanding your or your loved one’s choices in the dying journey.

Is Hospice Right for You or a Loved One?

Inpatient hospice care centers also provide temporary care for home hospice patients. These occasional short-term hospitalizations can provide much-needed rest time for relatives who provide care at home while allowing patients to receive proper, round-the-clock symptom management.

Any time you or your loved one is diagnosed with a terminal illness, you should consider hospice care. Discuss with your doctor that all available care options are appropriate, including hospice care.

Common diseases suitable for hospice care include the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia, cancer, heart disease, lung disease, AIDS, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. When the doctor determines that the life expectancy is six months or less due to the natural course of the disease, patients diagnosed with these diseases are eligible for hospice care.

At this time, comfort care and symptom management becomes the main focus. This is because continued treatment is no longer beneficial. A good question to ask yourself is, would I be surprised if the person I love is not here in a year?

Hospice Care Gives You A Team

Unlike any other care, hospice care provides a higher level of support. A multidisciplinary team composed of doctors, registered nurses, certified nursing assistants, medical social workers, spiritual counselors, grief counselors, and volunteers work together to solve the physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs of each patient and family.

Regardless of the patient’s age or ability to pay, the hospice care team provides patients with home care, including personal residence, relative’s home, assisted living or professional care, or in one of the nursing home-style residential care facilities.

Hospice care focuses on each patient and family by providing expert care in pain relief and symptom management, emotional and spiritual counseling (if needed), and grief support.

If you’re still unsure as to whether hospice care is the right choice for your loved one, you should speak with a trained counselor. They can assist you in making the right decision, not just for your loved one, but for your family, as well. Contact us at Mary T for more information.

What Is Comfort Care?

Confused about comfort care and what it entails? Let’s clear things up to give you a better understanding of how it works.

What Does It Mean When Someone Is Put On Comfort Care?

Comfort care relieves symptoms and optimizes comfort when a patient is dying. When patients no longer benefit from curative medical treatment, comfort care can improve the quality of life. This ensures a more positive experience that would otherwise be lacking without it.

Unlike almost any other form of medical care, comfort care does not try to actively cure or treat a disease or illness; only on reducing the impact of disease symptoms when the patient reaches the end of life stage. Additionally, this type of service can be provided at home, in nursing homes, or at a hospital.

Who Receives Comfort Care?

Patients who are admitted to the hospital multiple times during treatment are usually more likely to receive comfort care. Once it is clear that additional treatment is unlikely to have a beneficial impact, it can be provided if the patient wishes.

Comfort and palliative care are the same thing and are suitable for patients who wish to focus on quality rather than quantity in the last few days of their lives. In some cases, shifting to comfort care can extend the patient’s lifespan, while aggressive treatment may serve to shorten it.

Moreover, comfort care is typical among patients with cancer, dementia, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or Alzheimer’s, among others. In addition, it can help reduce symptoms like shortness of breath and breathing trouble, nausea, vomiting, and constipation.

Patients can receive medicine and various forms of treatment to solve these problems, as well as pain, insomnia, or anxiety. Treatments are designed to favor comforts rather than cures. A good example of comfort care treatments is pain relief management.

Comfort of Care

The main purpose of end-of-life care is to ensure the physical and emotional well-being of the patient. Whether in a nursing home, hospital bed, or home residence, it works to reduce discomfort and suffering rather than improve health.

Medications are provided by the overseeing physician to keep the patient as comfortable as possible. The spiritual needs of ill patients are also met to ensure that all needs and services related to terminal care are available.

The NIA (National Institute on Aging) believes that comfort care is an essential part of terminal illness care. As such, there needs to be more focus on training all doctors to provide hospice care. What’s more, physicians need to be capable of providing spiritual and emotional support to dying patients and their family members.

Hospice often comes with physiological concerns, so it’s important for the family to have someone to talk to about what they are feeling. With more attention on hospice training and all that it entails, we can better support those who need it.

This would also allow the patient and their family to have a clearer understanding of what to expect from hospice. It’s not uncommon for loved ones to oppose taking the patient off of aggressive treatment for a symptom and moving to something without the goal of making them better. Medical professionals need to be able to educate everyone involved so that the transition to hospice is easier.

Hospice Care

Hospice and Palliative care are one and the same. Moreover, the care and comfort of both the patients and their families benefit from hospice. This includes support for anyone providing care services, not just the quality of life of the patient.

End-of-life care often involves many caregivers, from those providing emotional support to physical care, such as the doctor and their team. In addition to pain control and comfort, the hospice team can include a social worker, music therapy, chaplain, and other members.

How Long Can Comfort Care Be Provided?

In most cases, the patient must be given a prognosis that they have six months or less to live, according to the NHPCO (National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization). At this juncture, comfort care is typically provided until death.

It’s important to speak with one of our specialists if you need more information. You can also navigate our services menu to help you better understand hospice. Transitioning to comfort care is often much easier for everyone involved when you know what to expect.

Hospice Care at Home

Many families are understandably concerned about someone else looking after a loved one in their home. There is a lot of confusion surrounding home hospice care and all that it entails. We’d like to shed some light on this topic to give you a better understanding of how hospice care works and what you can expect.

What to Expect When Starting Hospice at Home

Hospice care at home consists of 24-hour medical care for the terminally ill. As such, you should expect there to be a trained medical professional on-site at all times. If there are family caregivers involved, hospice can provide respite care to assist through this emotional and spiritual time.

What Does Hospice Do at Home?

Home hospice care brings the medical attention to your or your loved one rather than the opposite. Those suffering from a serious illness or terminal illness require end-of-life care at home. Home hospice care is designed to make the end-of-life transition easier for your loved one.

As such, a hospice team provides health care 24 hours a day in the home of the patient with a terminal illness. The goal is to ensure the quality of life in the final days of the terminally ill. Since hospice care is typically reserved for patients with six months or less to live, special considerations are given.

This involves bringing in a team of trained medical professionals to provide medical care around the clock. The life expectancy of the patient will affect the services provided.

How Do I Prepare My Home for Hospice Care?

white wooden dresser with mirror

When getting a home ready for hospice, families who are prepared help make the process less challenging for themselves. What’s more, they also tend to make the process less stressful for their loved one who is receiving hospice care.

Moreover, research shows that homes that don’t get prepared for hospice care have a greater risk of anxiety, depression, and grief for both the loved ones and the hospice caregivers.

Speak with the Hospice Team

Since it is so important to be prepared, it’s also worth noting that you should take the time to consult with the hospice care provider, as well as the care team. In preparing your home for hospice, it’s a good idea to start by making a to-do list. Have family members chip in and help with preparing the home.

When you are ready to proceed with hospice care, the hospice provider and the members of the hospice medical team will probably ask you for an overview concerning the house and what its environment is like.

This allows the hospice health team to get a better understanding of what to expect so that they can adequately prepare themselves for it. In doing so, they can be sure to provide the best care for your loved one during their stay.

Preparing a home for hospice and palliative care typically comes down to two areas: preparation for the caregiver and comfort of the patient.

Preparation for the Caregiver

Even though hospice services are being given in the home, it is vital for you to consider whether the environment of the home is conducive for caregivers to assist your loved one. Obviously, you don’t need to worry about going through the trouble of converting the home into a hospital room.

It just needs to be set up in a way that makes it easy for caregivers to do what they need to do while also being safe for the patient. Consider the following tips when preparing a home for hospice.

Make Sure the Home Is Accessible to All

One of the best ways to look at the home environment is as if it is a workspace. Again, you don’t need to worry about doing a complete makeover or retrofitting of the home. Instead, you want it to be ideal for hospice care, just as you find in a hospital or long-term care facility.

This means the convenient layout of furniture and items. Living areas need to be safe and easy for everyone involved to navigate. As such, the home should have significant space to move around. After all, you want your loved one to be able to walk around their home safely.

Remove Potential Hazards

Oftentimes, the patient needs assistance with walking. Therefore, you should make sure that the home is free of anything that has the potential to be a hazard. This includes areas like walkways doorways. If at all possible, consider installing safety bars to help prevent falls.

The bathroom, in particular, should be given special consideration to ensure that there are no slip-and-fall hazards. If your loved one has trouble getting around on their own, you should do all that you can to provide them with a safe living environment.

In addition to a safe environment, it’s important to consider any medical equipment that is likely to be brought into the home. This is why you should speak with the hospice team well beforehand to ensure that you know what’s coming.

Once you have an understanding of this, you can accommodate and make changes to the home accordingly. Do all that you can to rid each usable room of obstructions to ensure a safe environment for the hospice team and the patient.

With Hospice, You Are in Control

With most hospice care, you are the one in control. Typically speaking, your hospice team is comprised of:

  • Bereavement manager
  • Social worker
  • Hospice aide
  • Volunteer
  • Physician
  • Chaplain
  • Nurse

Everyone assigned to your hospice care arrives and adheres to a schedule that you have picked out. It’s important to keep in mind that they are there to care for your loved one, not to take over the home. As such, they will often turn to you for guidance and direction.

Hospice Gets Easier

Additionally, they will have answers to your questions and provide equal guidance for you. Hospice teams are confident about their abilities and gentle with the patient. With every hospice visit, you will find that things tend to get easier.

What’s more, you and your loved one will find yourselves looking forward to when the hospice team arrives. Hospice care is often a spiritual and emotional journey. A such, you need assistance to help you get through this difficult and generally unique time in your life – whether you are the one receiving hospice care or a family member.

Levels of Hospice Care

Hospice care is a service given to a terminally ill patient or anyone given a prognosis of six months or less to live by a medical doctor. Also considered end-of-life care, or comfort care, Medicare has defined hospice services as made up of four levels of care. Not all hospice patients need or receive all four levels of hospice care. One patient may only use one level, while another may go through all four levels in a week or less. Each hospice patient goes through their own unique journey.

Level 1: Routine Home Care

This is the most basic level of medicare certified hospice care. It exists for patients living at home, have been confirmed eligible for hospice care by a medical doctor, and qualify for Medicare Part A and B. The majority of patients who receive 90 days of hospice care or more are getting this type of hospice care. This level of hospice is usually appointment-based and includes such services as:

  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Intermittent skilled nursing services
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Part-time use of a home health aide
  • Medical supplies for home use

At this level of hospice, you don’t have access to 24/7 care. However, many centers for medicare and hospice agencies keep a nurse on-call at all times for families that have urgent needs.

Level 2: Continuous Home Care

Continuous care is the second of the four levels of hospice care. It is usually used in times of crisis. We elevate patients that require continuous care for a minimum of eight hours straight, within a 24 hours to manage acute symptoms, into this hospice care level of care. Continuous home care may cover such symptoms as:

  • Severe nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Unrelieved pain
  • Heightened anxiety or panic attacks
  • A change in primary caregiver support at home

If a hospice patient has symptoms that cannot be controlled, level 2 hospice care allows a nurse to stay with the family as long as necessary until the patient is comfortable. Level 2 can also assist in cases where the person is actively dying.

Level 3: General Inpatient Care

Sometimes patients may experience symptoms so extreme that they cannot receive adequate hospice and palliative care at home. Or sometimes they feel more comfortable at a certified hospice care facility. General inpatient care gives a patient access to palliative care 24-hours a day, and can be done at a nursing home, assisted living facility or other hospice facility. Some patients with a terminal illness prefer an inpatient facility because it eases the responsibility of family caregivers and allows them to simply be there for emotional support. A nursing facility can administer sufficient pain relief and medications along with emotional support for everyone during a difficult time. This doesn’t mean that an inpatient facility gives a better level of care than intermittent or routine home care. Every patient is different and needs to take advantages of the services that best suit their wishes and needs.

Level 4: Respite Care

You shouldn’t underestimate the stress of being a primary caregiver. While many of them would not have it any other way, taking care of someone who is nearing the end of their life is an around the clock job. Medicare understands that sometimes, for many reasons, people need to take a break, or step back from giving their loved one constant care. With respite care, we can admit a patient to a 24-hour nursing facility on a temporary basis. Which gives a caregiver time to take care of their own physical and emotional needs. Not everyone needs this hospice benefit, but respite care can be a lifesaver to caregivers who do not have enough help or support.

Who Determines The Levels of Hospice Care?

Anyone who qualifies for hospice has a team that consists of both the patient’s personal doctor and a hospice doctor. The levels of hospice care a person qualifies for falls under the responsibility of the hospice physician. The most important thing is that with these four levels of hospice care in place, a patient may always be able to get the care they need to live out their lives in a calm and peaceful manner.

If you have any questions about our hospice care services here at Mary T, send us a message or give us a call.

Hospice Care Criteria

Nobody likes to contemplate the need for hospice care because it’s never easy to face the loss of a loved one. It’s a decision that usually needs to be made while dealing with strong emotions such as sadness, anger, and grief. However, hospice care can be comforting as well. Both for the patient and the family. Hospice care criteria is different from palliative care in that palliative care can begin at the time of diagnosis. Hospice care, on the other hand, begins once treatment is stopped and it becomes apparent that a person will not survive their illness. Both hold the comfort of the patient in high regard, but hospice is where end-of-life comfort care becomes a top priority.

When is it time to consider hospice care as an option?

People become eligible for hospice when a doctor determines they have a terminal illness with a prognosis of six months or less if the disease runs its normal course. A doctor will usually recommend hospice services based on the following three situations:

  1. The patient’s condition stops improving, and they fail to thrive. Usually, at this point, they have progressed into end-stage disease.
  2. If one’s goals change and they decide that they aren’t feeling better and would rather not be in a hospital setting. Or, they feel anxious about dying and want extra supportive care.
  3. Any acute health event, such as a heart attack or stroke, may require immediate end-of-life care.

During hospice, the goals of treatment change. You are no longer treating to cure a disease, you are treating to keep the patient as relaxed and pain-free as possible. Whether patients are suffering from a terminal illness or simply old age, the goals are the same. To ease the process of dying and make it as comfortable for the patient and the family as possible.

How do patients qualify for hospice care?

First, a medical professional must refer a patient for hospice care. Then a hospice nurse will perform an assessment of the patient’s health. During this assessment, the hospice nurse will look for certain hospice care criteria, such as:

  • Daytime sleeping
  • Increased cognitive impairment or confusion
  • Weight loss of 10% in the last 3 – 6 months
  • Incontinence
  • Disease progression in spite of treatment
  • Not performing daily activities
  • Increased hospital stays or visits to the ER
  • Pain and suffering

Once the assessment is complete, it’s reviewed by a hospice team, which is responsible for making the final recommendation that a patient will qualify for hospice care. However, in most medical facilities, it is the medical director that makes the final decision.

What is the hospice care criteria for Medicare?

Hospice is usually covered under the Medicare Hospice Benefit for patients that are eligible for Medicare Part A – Hospital Insurance. A hospice benefit is also available to those that qualify for Medicaid as well. In order to confirm hospice eligibility from Medicare, both a hospice doctor and your regular doctor must certify that the patient is terminally ill with a life expectancy of six months or less if the disease runs its normal course.

It’s important to note that when you agree to hospice care, you forgo any care meant to cure your illness. The patient or their power of attorney will be required to sign a statement choosing hospice care over other Medicare benefits used to treat the patient. Medicare coverage for hospice care includes anything needed for pain relief, nursing and social services, drugs for pain management, durable medical equipment, homemaker services, and other things such as spiritual and grief counseling for the patient and their family.

Hospice Is Difficult but Often Comforting

Once you get through making the hard decision, patients always benefit from end-of-life care. Hospice teams are very experienced in making a custom plan of care for their patients. Whether you decide to use an inpatient facility or do home hospice, the family and the hospice team work closely to provide the best services to benefit the patient. Hospice will make a very difficult time easier to manage for all involved.

Common Myths About Hospice

Mary T: Your Source for Hospice Facts

Here at Mary T, we want you to be clear on the truth about hospice care. It is important for hospice patients and family members to have a good understanding of what hospice entails.

If you have a loved one with a terminal illness, it’s important to separate the hospice myths from hospice facts. We want to help as many people as we can by discussing the most common myths about hospice care.

With factual information and data about hospice care, you can confidently make the best decision for your family and loved ones.

What Is Hospice Care?

The HFA (Hospice Foundation of America) defines hospice care as medical care designed to assist someone with a terminal illness by helping them live as comfortably for as long as possible.

Loved ones receive hospice care from a team of specialists who assist with the physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental needs of end-of-life patients and their families.

Hospice Care Means…

In short, hospice care is intended to improve the quality of life of terminally ill patients. This is accomplished through medications, comfort care, and any other reasonable way to lift the spirits of end-of-life patients.

This extends to family members and caregivers, as well. End-of-life care can be very demanding for those who are providing services. From emotional support to assisted living services, there is a lot that makes up end-stage care.

Dispelling the Rumors

With such a unique and challenging aspect of medical care, myths and rumors are bound to come about. Unfortunately, this can create a stigma and make it difficult for families to confidently choose hospice care.

It is therefore essential to research as much information as you can on hospice care and what it entails. That’s why our specialists here at Mary T compiled a detailed guide to the most common hospice myths.

Hospice care may or may not be the most suitable option for your loved one. But the only way to be sure is to research hospice and end-of-life care and speak with a doctor. So with that, let’s find out what’s real and what isn’t with hospice care.

Myths About Hospice

Many people are under the impression that hospice and palliative care are reserved for patients who no longer want to live. This is completely false – and dangerous.

It’s misinformation like this that could keep a patient from seeking hospice care services, thus depriving them of the comfort they could experience in the final days of their life-limiting illness.

Unfortunately, that isn’t the only myth making the rounds. The following are the nine most common myths associated with hospice care.

Myth 1. You Can Never Leave Hospice Care

Entering into a hospice program does not lock you in for life. While it’s true that hospice care is designed for patients who have six months or less to live, there are many accounts of patients getting better during hospice treatment.

If this happens, a doctor will evaluate the patient and release them from care. Continued follow-up treatment may be necessary, but the patient certainly doesn’t have to stay in hospice.

Myth 2. You Must Sign a DNR

Similar to the first myth, some believe hospice requires the signing of a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate). Such an agreement hastens death, and that’s exactly the opposite of what the goal of hospice care is all about.

Hospice providers want to improve the life of patients, even during their dying process. The goal is simply to keep them comfortable. A DNR is absolutely not required.

Myth 3. People Must Have Only Days to Live

On average, people enrolled in hospice care, such as cancer patients, have a limited life expectancy. It’s true that hospice care is typically meant for patients with a few months of life left. But it certainly doesn’t bar a patient with a longer life expectancy. Actually, many patients don’t get to experience the full benefits of hospice care because they put it off for too long due to this common myth.

Remember, hospice care is in place for patients with life-limiting illnesses. It will be up to the patient’s primary care physician or family to determine what kind of care is needed.

Myth 4. You No Longer Have Control of Your Care

Hospice services are designed to improve the quality of life of patients, through efforts like pain management. The plan of care tailored for the patient does not mean the patient must accept it. They have the right to refuse any part of hospice services that don’t agree with or want.

Myth 5. Hospice Care Is Only Available at Hospitals

The patient decides where they receive hospice care. If they feel more comfortable in a nursing home, then that’s what is right for that patient. Hospice means making the patient comfortable. As such, hospice is a place where the patient gets the most benefit, whether at home, in a hospice center, or otherwise.

Myth 6. You Need a Doctor Referral

Anyone can make a referral for hospice care, from the patient to family members. However a doctor does need to send the official order for hospice care.

Myth 7. Only Patients With Cancer Can Get Hospice Care

Cancer patients are certainly included, but so are those with heart disease, lung disease, and more. Again, it depends on the health of the patient and how their illness affects them. If it is terminal, then receiving hospice care makes the most sense.

Myth 8. Hospice and Palliative Care Are the Same

Hospice patients have life-limiting illnesses. Palliative care is generally started once the patient is diagnosed, which may or may not lead to life-limiting conditions.

Myth 9. Hospice Care Is Expensive

Hospice provides its services to patients with private insurance. It is also fully funded by Medicare and Medicaid and is covered by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. As such, you have many options for seeking the care you need.

A family member should reach out to social workers for guidance on this matter. Our health care specialists can also assist you in this.

Contact Mary T for More Information

We encourage you to reach out to us with any questions regarding the care of your loved ones. We will be happy to assist you in any way that we can. If you are a Minnesota Twin Cities resident in the St. Paul or Minneapolis area, call or visit the Mary T Coon Rapids MN for more information.

Hospice Care Goals

Hospice care can be a necessary part of end-of-life care. With the support of good hospice care, your loved one can receive the treatment needed for comfort in their final days.

If you have someone close to you who needs hospice care, we encourage you to contact us at Mary T today. Our specialists can offer the guidance and support you need to make the best decision for your family.

What Are the Goals of Hospice Care?

The goals of hospice care begin with ensuring that the patient has improved quality of life during the last phases of an illness or disease; specifically, one that cannot be cured. When someone has a disease that can’t be cured, it means that hospice care is needed.

The goals of hospice care include providing treatment that serves to lessen the severity of the patient’s symptoms. When a medical condition is terminal, hospice care works to make the patient as comfortable as possible.

This is done in coordination with the patient’s primary hospice doctor, who prescribes medication for the care team to administer. Although the medication isn’t intended to cure, it can help the ill experience less pain and suffering.

What’s more, family members and loved ones can offer their support in an effort to lift the spirits of the terminally ill patient.

Clergy may also offer spiritual guidance throughout the final months of the patient’s life. Emotional support is essential in hospice, too, as it is a big part of the help patients need during this time.

What Are 4 Goals for End-of-Life Care?

While the wishes of terminally ill patients vary, this care program tries to provide the same hospice treatment goals for everyone. This care includes help in the following areas:

  • Mental and emotional needs
  • Physical comfort
  • Spiritual issues
  • Practical tasks

Some patients in hospice wish to be left alone, while others desire ongoing support and care from family members and people around them. This level of care is designed to fulfill the needs of terminally ill patients.

Communication Matters

The goal is to ensure that as much care and support is available as possible. Some families may have a different goal in mind from the next. It is therefore essential to communicate these desires with the hospice doctor and care team as often as possible.

Ask questions and request information about these goals. This will make it easier to develop a plan that has the patient’s wishes in mind.

Although death is inevitable for everyone, people are affected differently by it. As such, there needs to be a unique hospice care program in place that serves to provide services centered on each patient.

Ongoing Hospice Care

But just because there is no possibility for a cure, that doesn’t mean that hospice care should cease. With the 4 goals of end-of-life care, your loved one can experience medical support from caregivers, as well as support from friends and family.

Patient and family connection is very important, as it helps to provide for the mental and emotional needs of the suffering. Nursing staff is also available to assist with physical comfort, and clergy helps with spiritual issues.

Caregivers take care of many of the practical tasks, ensuring that all aspects of end-of-life care are met. With all of this care in action, patients with a terminal illness can find respite in the final months or days of their lives.

Support for Hospice Caregivers

It’s important to note that caregivers who provide care services for patients in hospice are working very physically demanding jobs. As such, they, too, require patient and family support.

Whether the caregiver is a licensed health care professional or a family member, they may need their own respite and social support. This ensures that they will be able to provide the best care possible, whether at the patient’s home or in a healthcare facility.

What Does Hospice Do at End of Life?

Hospice makes sure that the patient’s primary wishes are met. From lessening their pain to ensuring that the patient is in the facility of their choosing, hospice works with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization so that all of the patient’s needs are met.

It is important for the patient to have as many options as possible. By being provided with all available services and medical resources, the patient can get the necessary care.

Working Together

Hospice also works together with hospice doctors to ensure that the patient is provided with the medications they need for fewer symptoms. This is done to give the patient comfort care during their final days.

Nursing staff may provide medications in either the patient’s home or in a hospital, depending on the patient’s wishes. With a focus on good social care and ongoing care, hospice is a necessary component to the patient’s final days of life.

Families are encouraged to take part in this program if it meets the desires of the patient.

Contact Mary T Today

Our team is here for you. If you have any questions or would like more information on hospice, we will be happy to assist you. We can help find the most suitable place for your family member, whether in a local facility or at home.

You don’t have to face hospice care on your own. Please feel free to contact us so we can help you through this difficult time.

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What Is the Difference Between Palliative Care and Hospice Care?

Hospice and palliative care are similar in some aspects but there are some key differences. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) is responsible for ensuring that palliative care is widely available across the country.

Both hospice and palliative care are designed to help improve the patient’s quality of life, although to varying degrees of success depending on the illness. Terminally ill patients, such as those with cancer, may need to transition from palliative to hospice care if their symptoms worsen.

Palliative Care

Palliative care is used to help a patient while they are receiving continuing care for their serious illness but not necessarily terminally ill. Also known as compassionate comfort care, palliative care can be used in various phases of the patient’s treatment, whereas hospice care is employed solely for patients who are nearing their end of life.

Palliative care can include cancer patients, COVID-19, or another illness that seriously affects the health and well-being of the patient. Palliative care can take place at a medical facility or at home. A care team will be assigned to provide treatment wherever it is chosen, whether hospice or palliative care.

Hospice Care

Hospice care is necessary when all other medical or spiritual treatment has failed and no other recourse is available, such as a patient dying of cancer. If spiritual or medical treatment is no longer working and the patient isn’t expected to live much longer, hospice care will be established to help improve their quality of life.

What’s more, a hospice patient with cancer other life-threatening illnesses will receive care 24 hours a day. Palliative care patients may only require limited services, although it can certainly include treatment 7 days a week. It all depends on the severity of the illness and the care deemed necessary.

Contact Mary T

If you have questions about palliative care vs hospice care or would like more information about our services, feel free to call Mary T. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding the continuing care of a loved one or family member.

How Long Does a Person Live After Being Put on Hospice?

While it’s true that most people who are receiving hospice care die shortly after being enrolled, there are some patients who continue to survive well after their expected end of life. That’s because most patients don’t realize they could benefit from hospice care much earlier in their illness. A patient may survive 6 months while in hospice, possibly longer, even though there isn’t a cure for their illness.

There have been some cases in which a patient has miraculously overcome their terminal illness without a cure during hospice care. Hospice team members would then work with the patient and their family to prepare for discharge. However, this would only happen if the patient no longer meets the eligibility for hospice care.

A hospice care team would likely coordinate Medicaid services during this time to ensure that the patient’s health care is monitored and support continues after their release from the nursing home, assisted living, or medical facility.

What Are the Four Levels of Hospice Care?

Level 1: Routine Home Care

Routine home care is the basic level of hospice care under the hospice benefit. It is covered for homebound people with Medicare Part A and B, and who are under the medical care of a doctor who has established this service.

Level 2: Continuous Home Care

Continuous home care serves to get the patient care during times when their symptoms are peaking. This is done to make sure that the health of a person is improved as best as it can. Cancer patients with degrading health often require continuous hospice home care support.

Level 3: General Inpatient Care

People who have acute symptoms that cannot be reasonably treated at home may get better care at a medical facility. People related to poor health may choose the safety of a hospital over their home.

Level 4: Respite Care

Designed to give a family member relief between caring for a loved one. This care gives the family time to collect themselves and take care of personal matters. In some cases, a related member of the family might stay with the dying person and require a break on occasion.