Hospice Care Services
What Is Hospice Care?
Hospice care is a special care for people with advanced, life-limiting illnesses and their caregivers that focuses on the quality of life. Hospice care helps people in the end stages of a disease that can't cure live as fully and comfortably as possible.
The hospice philosophy recognizes that death is the end of life. It celebrates life but doesn't try to hasten or delay death. Instead of treating the disease, hospice care takes care of the person and their symptoms. A group of professionals works together to care for a person's symptoms so they can spend their last days with dignity and comfort, surrounded by their loved ones. Hospice care also focuses on the patient's family and includes them in decision-making.
What are the benefits of hospice care?
The families of patients who received end-of-life care through a hospice program report higher satisfaction levels than those whose loved ones did not have access to hospice services. Compared with individuals who do not make use of hospice care, patients who do so are more likely to have their pain managed and are also less likely to be subjected to tests or given medicines they do not require.
Where is hospice care provided, and who gives it?
Hospice care is provided by nurses, doctors, social workers, spiritual advisors, and trained volunteers with special skills. Everyone works together to give the dying person, the caregiver, and the family the medical, emotional, and spiritual support they need.
A hospice team member sees the patient often, and someone is usually there to answer the phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Medicare and other insurance companies may pay for hospice care. Check to see if the person's insurance will cover what's going on.
It's important to remember that stopping treatment for a disease that is not getting better does not mean stopping all treatment. A person over 60 who has cancer is a good example. If the doctor decides that the cancer is not responding to chemotherapy and the patient chooses to get hospice care, the chemotherapy will stop. Other kinds of medical care can go on as long as they help. For instance, if the person has high blood pressure, they will still get medicine.
Who's involved in hospice care?
If you aren't getting hospice care in a special facility, staff will make regular visits to your home or another place you are. Hospice workers are available around the clock, seven days a week.
Usually, a hospice care team is made up of:
Doctors. Care will be led by a primary care doctor and a hospice doctor or medical director. Every patient gets to choose their primary doctor. This can be your old doctor or a doctor from a hospice.
Nurses. Nurses will come to your home or the home of a family member or another place to give care. They are also in charge of putting the hospice care team together.
Home Health Aids. Home health aides can help with daily tasks like getting dressed, bathing, and eating.
Spiritual counselors. Chaplains, priests, lay ministers, and other spiritual counselors can help and guide the whole family on a spiritual level.
Social Worker. Social workers give advice and help to people in need. They can also help you find other ways to get help.
Pharmacists. Pharmacists keep an eye on medications and advise on how to treat symptoms in the best way.
Volunteers. Volunteers trained can help with many things, like giving caregivers company or a break and assisting with transportation or other practical needs.
Others Professionals. Speech, physical, and occupational therapists can help if therapy is needed.
Bereavement counselors. Hospices have trained counselors who help people deal with grief after a loved one dies.
The focus with hospice is caring, not curing. Many people assume hospice is only called in the final moments of life. However, studies show that pain and symptom management is more effective when delivered earlier in the disease process. Fully covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance plans and HMOs, hospice is more about living than dying. That is because it is meant to provide the best quality of life possible for patients whose prognosis leads doctors to believe they will not live past six months. They are often in pain, particular with end-stage diseases like cancer, in addition to the discomfort brought about by previous treatments like chemotherapy. While hospice is thought of as solely a last option for the dying, patients sometimes improve and can be discharged from hospice.
At some point, it may not be possible to cure a serious illness, or a patient may choose not to undergo certain treatments. Hospice is designed for this situation. The patient beginning hospice care understands that his or her illness is not responding to medical attempts to cure it or to slow the disease's progress.
Like palliative care, hospice provides comprehensive comfort care as well as support for the family, but, in hospice, attempts to cure the person's illness are stopped. Hospice is provided for a person with a terminal illness whose doctor believes he or she has 6 months or less to live if the illness runs its natural course.
Although hospice provides a lot of support, the day-to-day care of a person dying at home is provided by family and friends. The hospice team coaches family members on how to care for the dying person and even provides respite care when caregivers need a break.
Our dedicated and caring medical team, social worker, chaplain, and volunteers are not only there to work with you, but to also be your support during this difficult time. Your family becomes our family. We individualize your care to promote quality of life rather than the quantity of life. This is accomplished by taking a holistic approach in caring for the mind, body, and spirit.
When should hospice care start?
Hospice care is used when a disease like advanced cancer can no longer be cured or controlled by treatment. In general, hospice care should be used when a person is expected to live less than 6 months if their illness goes the way it usually does. People with advanced cancer should talk with their families and doctor about when hospice care should start.
Studies show that hospice care doesn't start soon enough a lot of the time. Hospice is sometimes resisted by the doctor, the patient, or the patient's family because they think it means "giving up" or there's no hope. You should know that you can leave hospice anytime and start active cancer treatment. But hospice gives people hope to live a good life until the end, making the most of each day, even when very sick.
Some doctors don't talk about hospice, so the patient or a family member may have to bring it up. If your treatment isn't working and you're out of options, you might want to talk to your doctor or a member of your cancer care team about hospice.
Home care and inpatient hospice care
Even though most hospice care is provided in the patient's home, there are conditions in which admission to a hospital, an extended-care facility, or an inpatient hospice center may be required. Your home hospice team can make arrangements for you to receive care in a hospital setting, and they will continue to be involved in your and your family's care. When you and your family feel ready, you can resume receiving care in your home.
Is hospice care as good as treatment?
When first told they have cancer, most people hope for a cure. The care at a hospice is different. When a prescription is impossible, the goal is to make you feel better. When harsh treatments are stopped and symptoms are treated more aggressively, this can make people feel much better. When hospice care starts sooner, most people feel better and can live longer. People can reach their goals with the help of hospice care, like spending less time at the doctor's office and more time with their loved ones.
Just like national standards for hospitals, doctors, and nurses, there are also national standards for hospice care. You can choose hospice care that lives up to high standards.
Here at From the Heart Home Care, LLC, we have designed a system where:
- We provide a superior level of service to patient’s, families, and providers. We achieve this by adhering to our high level of values while recognizing that you are the expert in your loved one’s health care decisions.
- We bring the professionally trained caregivers in direct contact with the patients. Our caregivers visits every client’s home in according to the schedule that fits the needs of the client and family.
- We partner with you to design a plan of care that is best suited for you.
- We are devoted to serving you with the utmost respect and dignity by honoring your wishes.
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