Hospice is designed to provide comfort and support to patients and their families when a terminal illness no longer responds to cure-oriented treatments. When you choose hospice care, you’ve decided that you no longer want care to cure your terminal illness and/or your doctor has determined that efforts to cure your illness aren’t working. Professional medical care is still provided with sophisticated pain/ symptom relief. The patient and family are both included in the care plan and emotional, spiritual and practical support is given based on the patient’s wishes and family’s needs.
Hospice care is provided to patients who have a limited life expectancy. Although most hospice patients are cancer patients, hospices accept anyone regardless of age or type of illness.
The Hospice Team
Hospice care is typically provided through an interdisciplinary, medically directed team. This team approach to care for dying persons typically includes a physician, a nurse, a nurse’s aide, a social worker, a chaplain and a volunteer.
The hospice nurse makes regularly scheduled visits to the patient providing expert pain management and symptom control techniques. Throughout the time that the patient is under the care of hospice, the nurse keeps the primary physician informed of the patient’s condition. Nurses provide the complete spectrum of skilled nursing care and are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Nurse’s aides provide assistance with the personal care of the patient.
Social workers provide assistance with practical and financial concerns as well as emotional support, counseling and bereavement follow-up. They evaluate the need for volunteers and other support services needed by the family and facilitate communication between the family and community agencies.
Chaplains provide spiritual support to patients and families, often serving as a liaison between them and their religious community.
Contact your local facility for more information about their Hospice services.