What is Hospice Care?

Submitted by Jennifer Robinson, BSN, RN on December 12, 2018

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Hospice is about living with hope and dying with dignity

The purpose of hospice care is to enhance the quality of life of the terminally ill, and to support the family in caring for and keeping their loved one comfortable in the home. The goal is to support patients who no longer wish to continue curative treatment or when the side effects of curative therapies outweigh potential long-term benefits.

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Hospice considers death to be a natural part of the life cycle. When death is inevitable, hospice will seek neither to hasten nor to postpone it. Hospice program staff members believe that psychosocial, emotional and spiritual pain are as significant as physical pain and other symptoms, and that relief requires the skills and approach of an interdisciplinary team.

A typical hospice family care program will include

•Planning and management

Hospice services are offered, upon approval by a physician, to individuals who are terminally ill.

•Pain management an 24/7 emergency support

An attending physician and the hospice staff should work with you and your family to set up a plan of care that meets your specific needs. They should also be able to provide emergency support should the need arise.

•Psychological and spiritual support for the patient

Good hospice care should help patients find pleasure in each day and not feel isolated or alone.

•Care from specially trained professionals and volunteers

Hospice patients should be cared for by a team of professionals including physicians, the hospice medical director, registered nurses, social workers, certified nursing assistants, trained volunteers and clergy. Staff are specially trained to address pain-control issues, nutrition, hydration and hygiene.

•Support for family members and friends

During the illness, hospice staff should provide support to family members and friends and bereavement care after the loved one's death

If someone you know is facing a life-limiting illness, chances are we can help. Our services are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare and private insurance plans.

Jennifer Robinson, BSN, RN is the Director of Post Acute Care. Jennifer oversees Palliative Care, Home Health, Hospice, Lifeline, and the Transitional Care Clinic.