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.
Pastors, priests, or other spiritual counselors can provide spiritual care and guidance for the entire family.
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.
If needed, speech, physical, and occupational therapists can provide treatment.
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.