Hospice provides most of the health and support services of
a health care facility in the privacy, comfort and familiarity
of the patients home. Research indicates no one really
wants to die in a setting where strangers are in control. Given
a choice, most people prefer to die at home among family and
friends. Hospice enables terminally ill patients to stay at
home and still receive quality care.
The patients personal physician directs the medical plan of care implemented
in the home by Hospice nurses. Hospice care can mean the patient is more comfortable,
more at peace and more in control. There is increased intimacy, meaning and dignity
in the patients life. The Hospice team engages family members in the care
and support of the patient, training them in caring techniques, encouraging open
communication among family members and the patient, and helping them accept the
issues and the reality of death. Home hospice care includes:
- visits by the hospice nurse for pain and symptom management and coordination of additional medical equipment and supplies related to the terminal illness
- help, if needed, with personal care by a nursing assistant
- visits by the social worker who can help with financial concerns and provide individual and/or family counseling
- visits by the chaplain to consult with and assist the patient and family in their spiritual concerns, complementing the patient’s own minister.
- the help of trained volunteers if needed
- consultation with the Hospice team members who are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Hospice care continues after the patients death. Specially trained bereavement counselors help the surviving family members deal with their grief through visits, written communication and support groups and other programs.