If the time comes when you or a loved one requires hospice care, and you are unsure of the services that hospice can provide, then I hope the research and information provided below will be helpful in making your decision to call hospice.
My family had to reach out to hospice 15 years ago for my mother after we were told she was nearing the end of her battle with lung cancer. After three years, the time came for us to call hospice, and we had no idea of the services that hospice care offered. For many terminally ill patients, both the patient and their families want to ensure that their loved one is going to live out the rest of his/her life in a dignified and comfortable atmosphere. Respect and a compassionate touch are precisely what was provided to my mother by her hospice team.
Hospice care focuses on all aspects of a patient’s life, including physical, social, emotional and spiritual well-being. In the case of my mother, individuals in the late stages of life can be eligible for hospice services. Though specific hospice service amenities may differ, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid require hospice organizations to incorporate a hospice interdisciplinary group or IDG. At a minimum, IDG must include a hospice medical doctor, registered nurse, social worker and a Chaplin or counselor. Additional team members may consist of a volunteer coordinator and community relations personnel.
Your hospice team will develop a care plan tailored to your loved one’s individual needs for pain management and relief of symptoms. The hospice team also provides all necessary palliative drugs and therapies, medical supplies and equipment. Some families decide to keep their loved one at home. In those cases, a family member acts as the primary caregiver while supervised by professional medical staff personnel. Hospice team members make regular visits to assess the patient and provide additional care and services, such as clinical and dietary assistance, light housekeeping and therapeutic massages, just to name a few. Hospice teams also offer emotional and spiritual support to the person’s loved ones, as well as grief counseling when the time comes.
All members of your hospice team are responsible for specific duties and are trained to walk alongside you and your loved one, ensuring the family is as comfortable as possible while facing challenges. Here are the services each member offers:
- Physicians: This may be the patient’s personal physician or a hospice physician who are responsible for controlling pain and other symptoms of terminal illnesses. They will prescribe medications and other methods of pain and symptom control.
- Registered Nurses: They maintain the patient’s comfort. They perform frequent assessments of the patient, and family members provide the necessary support.
- State Tested Nursing Assistants (STNA) and Home Health Aides: Provide personal care and help the patient and family with their daily needs. STNAs and Home Health Aides often provide companionship and emotional support.
- Social Workers: Assist in coordinating community resources that are often needed to help with the non-medical concerns of the family.
- Spiritual Counselors and Chaplains: Support patients and families in coping with end-of-life spiritual questions and concerns.
- Bereavement Coordinators: Provide grief support to patient and family.
- Hospice also provides medications and incontinence supplies necessary to promote comfort at home or in facility settings.
Hospice staff members are available by phone 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. For more information about hospice care at Wesley Hospice, contact our front desk today.