Home > Care Options > Hospice Care

Hospice Care

By: Elizabeth Grace - Updated: 21 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
Hospice Care Home Hospice Care Hospice

Typically, hospice care is reserved for terminally ill patients. Care includes medical, emotional, and spiritual support for patients, as well as for their family members.

The Goals of Hospice Care

The main goal of hospice care is to empower the terminally ill to live their last weeks and months as they prefer and to help them to die with peace and dignity. Helping patients and their families to create environments that promote emotional support and spiritual healing is provided by a network of professionals and volunteers, all working together to help families to say goodbye to loved ones. Hospice care is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day, and can be provided at home, in a nursing facility or hospital, or at a hospice centre, wherever is most appropriate for the patient. Hospice does not strive to alter the length of life, merely to enhance the quality of the last six months or so of it.

The Hospice Team

Hospice workers combine their individual talents to form comprehensive teams, able to help patients and their loved ones to enrich the short time that they have left together. Unlike old-fashioned medical thinking where patients were “informed” as to what will be happening to them, hospice care is based on the notion that the patient is the most important member of the team, and everything possible is done to adhere to their wishes. In addition to the patient and their family members, hospice teams are made up of all or any of the following: doctors, nurses, medical assistants, physical therapists, social workers, members of the clergy, and assorted volunteers. Hospice volunteers undergo comprehensive training before they are assigned to individual cases, helping them to handle not only their duties, but also to manage their own emotional reactions as they grow close to and then prepare to lose patients.

Hospice Services

The specific services performed by hospice teams depend largely on the unique needs of each family. Some request only companionship and possibly personal hygiene assistance, while other patients and their loved ones may require more intensive services. Hospice team members are trained and prepared to offer psychological counseling, spiritual guidance, pain management, and symptom control. Care plans are individualised to meet the needs of each patient, with adjustments to services made throughout the time span via a series of conferences with family members. Hospice care continues even after the death has occurred, with bereavement care available for about a year to help loved ones through the grieving process.

Some people mistakenly look at hospice care as services for those who have “given up,” but there is a big difference between accepting that death is imminent and simply giving up hope. Additionally, if a patient’s condition unexpectedly improves, they can discontinue hospice care, returning to it if needed at a later time. The philosophy of hospice is that the end of life is an important stage, every bit as meaningful as those that came before, and as such, it deserves a great deal of attention and effort to make that time as pain-free and dignified as possible. Compassionate, family-centred care can help patients to live the last portion of the lives in much the same way that they lived previous stages – supported and surrounded by those that they hold dear.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments