Hospice, also known as end-of-life care, is a service provided to patients suffering from a terminal illness and a reduced quality of life as a result of the symptoms of the illness. Hospice is used to provide relief from pain, shortness of breath, etc. so that the patient can focus on other things in his or her life.
Hospice also provides counseling and practical help to relatives of the patient. This will help them get through the process and handle the passing of the patient better.
Hospice care can be home-based, in an independent facility specifically designed and built to provide hospice care or through programs managed through assisted living facilities, nursing homes, hospitals, etc.
A hospice doesn’t need any accreditation or certification to be in business, but standards have been created by groups like the Joint Commission, Community Health Accreditation Partner, the National Hospice, and Palliative Care Organization. These must be met for hospices to stay open.
A common misconception regarding hospice is that the patient is refusing medical treatment. Hospice uses medical treatment to maximize the patient’s comfort. It does not include any kind of treatment designed to cure the illness the patient is suffering.
Hospice in the Household
Providing hospice care at home is a feature of most hospice programs. The program will provide nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals to help with the treatment, but the primary caregiver will be a relative or friend who will monitor the patient’s wellbeing 24/7.
The primary caregiver is trained in the provision of most of the hands-on care required, and he or she will spend most of their time around the patient. For patients who live alone or those whose spouses and children are occupied outside the house, this is problematic. With some scheduling and cooperation, this is easily handled.
Hospice staff will also visit the patient regularly. This will allow them to check in on the patient and the caregiver(s) to manage any symptoms and provide any advice or support required.
Home hospice treatments officially begin when the patient receives a visit at home from a representative or a team member of the hospice care program. This signifies the beginning of the patient’s admittance into the hospice program. This is done to learn about the patient and his or her requirements.
Benefits of Hospice Care at Home
Allowing a patient to receive hospice care at home is a very valuable experience for the patient.
• The patient will live comfortably in an environment he or she is already familiar, giving the patient infinite peace and comfort.
• It is very convenient for the patient as it reduces the stress of travel. All the hospice care, tools, medicines, and medical professionals, will be provided to the patient’s home.
• The hospice treatments will be tailored to suit the patient’s need. The program will analyze the patient’s condition, living situation, etc., to carefully craft and customize treatments that will work best for the patient.
• The daily rigors of the hospice care will be handled by family members or close friends, providing the patient with companionship during the hospice treatments.
• The staff of the hospice program are available around the clock to manage any symptoms that the patient may suffer and provide support and advice to the primary caregiver.
• The staff of the hospice program are also available to provide psychological and spiritual support to the patient’s family and friends at the time of the patient’s passing.
• The patient is afforded a little measure of dignity in his or her passing, rather than having to endure extensive and invasive surgical procedures or life-support devices to extend his or her lifespan.
• The medical and hospital bills racked up, caring for someone with a terminal illness can be staggering. Hospice treatments are covered under Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance policies so those who qualify will reduce the out of pocket costs for families.
Terminal illnesses are a difficult issue to handle, especially when it is someone close to you. Hospice care will allow patients to have some comfort and increased the quality of life during their final moments.
Providing hospice care at home will not be for all patients. Some will require supervision around the clock by medical professionals, and others can handle home life with the help of relatives and close friends. Making a choice for home hospice care should be done with the patient’s needs on the mind.
Cardinal Hospice was founded on the belief that end of life deserves just as much recognition as the beginning. Our experienced team of health care providers are dedicated to providing the best possible end of life care. If you think you or someone you love could benefit from our services, talk to your physician or contact us so we can discuss the services available to you.