Hospice Care is specialized person-centered care provided to patients with life-limiting illness. It is about taking control so that each moment of every day is the best that it can possibly be. Comfort, dignity, and attending to one’s goals and hopes frame care that focuses on pain and symptom management, emotional, and spiritual support.
Hospice Care also extends support to caregivers and loved ones. With the emphasis on the patient’s goals and comfort, rather than cure, family and loved ones are able to spend time simply being together. As pain and suffering is reduced, anxiety is relieved. For caregivers, the stress of caring for someone with a serious illness is diminished by having a team of compassionate professionals by your side.
Each patient and family is cared for by an interdisciplinary team of hospice professionals who attend to the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. The benefit of having a team of caregivers (physician, nurse, social worker, spiritual counselor, aides and volunteers) is the collective wisdom they bring to assist the patient and family as an individualized plan of care is developed so that the patient’s choices are honored.
The hospice team provides care in the comfort of the patient’s home, nursing home or assisted living center. Patients can also receive care in a hospital or at the Hospice House. Celebrating the life of the patient and making every moment and every memory more valuable should always be an underlying goal of hospice care. Patients and families often say, “We wish we’d known more and entered your hospice program sooner.” A common misunderstanding is that hospice care is only for the last few days or weeks of life. Patients and families can really benefit most when they have hospice for the final months of life.