Hospice care services
There are many things about hospice care that set it apart from other types of health care.
A team of professionals In most cases, an interdisciplinary health care team manages hospice care. This means that many interacting disciplines work together to care for the patient. Doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors, home health aides, clergy, therapists, and trained volunteers care for you. Each of these people offers support based on their special areas of expertise. Together, they then give you and your loved ones complete palliative care aimed at relieving symptoms and giving social, emotional, and spiritual support.
Pain and symptom control The goal of pain and symptom control is to help you be comfortable while allowing you to stay in control of and enjoy your life. This means that side effects are managed to make sure that you are as free of pain and symptoms as possible, yet still alert enough to enjoy the people around you and make important decisions. To learn more on this topic, please see our document, Pain Control: A Guide for Those With Cancer and Their Loved Ones.
Spiritual careHospice care also tends to your spiritual needs. Since people differ in their spiritual needs and religious beliefs, spiritual care is set up to meet your specific needs. It may include helping you to look at what death means to you, helping you say good-bye, or helping with a certain religious ceremony or ritual. To learn more on this topic, please see our document, Spirituality and Prayer.
Home care and inpatient care Although hospice care can be centered in the home, you may need to be admitted to a hospital, extended-care facility, or a hospice inpatient facility. The hospice can arrange for inpatient care and will stay involved in your care and with your family. You can go back to in-home care when you and your family are ready.
Respite care While you are in hospice, your family and caregivers may need some time away.. Hospice service may offer them a break through respite care, which is often offered in up to 5-day periods. During this time you will be cared for either in the hospice facility or in beds that are set aside for this in nursing homes or hospitals. Families can plan a mini-vacation, go to special events, or simply get much-needed rest at home while you are cared for in an inpatient setting.
Family conferences Through regularly scheduled family conferences, often led by the hospice nurse or social worker, family members can stay informed about your condition and what to expect. Family conferences also give you all a chance to share feelings, talk about expectations, and learn about death and the process of dying. Family members can find great support and stress relief through family conferences. Conferences may also be done informally on a daily basis as the nurse or nursing assistant talks with you and your caregivers during their routine visits.
Bereavement care Bereavement is the time of mourning after a loss. The hospice care team works with surviving loved ones to help them through the grieving process. A trained volunteer, clergy member, or professional counselor provides support to survivors through visits, phone calls, and/or letter contact, as well as through support groups. The hospice team can refer family members and care-giving friends to other medical or professional care if needed. Bereavement services are often provided for about a year after the patient’s death. To learn more on this topic, please see the American Cancer Society document, Coping With the Loss of a Loved One, and Helping Children When a Family Member Has Cancer: Bereavement Information for Children and Parents.
Volunteers Hospice volunteers play an important role in planning and giving hospice care in the United States. Volunteers may be health professionals or lay people who provide services that range from hands-on care to working in the hospice office or fundraising.
Staff support Hospice care staff members are kind and caring. They communicate well, are good listeners, and are interested in working with families who are coping with a life-threatening illness. They are usually specially trained in the unique issues surrounding death and dying. Yet, because the work can be emotionally draining, it is very important that support is available to help the staff with their own grief and stress. Ongoing education about the dying process is also an important part of staff support.
Coordination of care The interdisciplinary team coordinates and supervises all care 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. This team is responsible for making sure that all involved services share information. This may include the inpatient facility, the home care agency, the doctor, and other community professionals, such as pharmacists, clergy, and funeral directors. You and your caregivers are encouraged to contact your hospice team if you are having a problem, any time of the day or night. There is always someone on call to help you with whatever may arise. Hospice care assures you and your family that you are not alone and help can be reached at any time.
Hospice Care covered services.
For Home Hospice Care:
a. Part-time or intermittent nursing care by a Registered Nurse (R.N.), Advanced Practice Nurse (A.P.N.), or by a Licensed Vocational Nurse (L.V.N.);
b. Part-time or intermittent home health aide services which consist primarily of caring for the patient;
c. Physical, speech, and respiratory therapy services by licensed therapists;
d. Homemaker and counseling services routinely provided by the Hospice agency, including bereavement counseling.
For Facility Hospice Care:
a. All usual nursing care by a Registered Nurse (R.N.), Advanced Practice Nurse (A.P.N.), or by a Licensed Vocational Nurse (L.V.N.);
b. Room and board and all routine services, supplies, and equipment provided by the Hospice facility;
c. Physical, speech, and respiratory therapy services by licensed therapists.
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