Hospice care is a unique concept that can be tricky to understand. Still, when it boils down to it, hospice supports people who are near the end of their lives by developing care plans that focus on each patient’s goals and wishes, managing their symptoms and pain, and encouraging the patients and their respective families to make the most of the time they have left together. Hospices are naturally not the most cheerful topic to talk about, but a very important one nonetheless, so let’s go over the main things you should know.
The first thing you should know is that hospice is for people with terminal, advanced illnesses. It provides symptom management and pain management for these patients to ease their suffering. And you can be assured that you will find what you need if you contact the hospice care team at Three Oaks, who will cater to every need you have, as there is nothing more important than our loved ones, as we sadly often realize all too late. Do not forget that hospice is optional, and people have the ability to quit or “withdraw” their hospice position at any time and for any cause. Patients also have the option to return to hospice anytime they want or need.
Where Does It Happen?
To many people’s surprise, hospice care is actually most often administered at home, but people can also get hospice care in residential hospices, nursing facilities, or assisted living communities, with some hospitals having their own unit dedicated to hospice care as well. You probably thought that hospice was a place to go, but in truth, most hospice care is accomplished at home, where the people are and where they feel most comfortable. In a residential hospice, the care is typically given by an experienced hospice staff, which includes nurses, counselors, and providers who are experienced in end-of-life care. They have to be very sensitive to the patient’s needs and pay attention to even the nonverbal cues of discomfort, be it physical, psychological, emotional, or even spiritual.
Who Is Involved?
Hospice care is provided by a team of specially trained professionals, which typically includes the patient’s personal physician, who has to certify that the patient has a terminal illness with a prognosis of six months or less to live, a hospice doctor, who facilitates the patient’s medical needs, a hospice nurse, typically a registered nurse who is specially trained, monitors vital signs, administers all the medications, and provides emotional support to the patient and their loved ones. There are also sometimes chaplains or other spiritual advisers, social workers, bereavement counselors, trained volunteers, and others, depending on the patient, scenario, and situation.
When faced with a terminal illness, people naturally feel a combination of scared, sad, and confused, and hospices exist to ease the patient’s time and provide any comfort and guidance possible, not only for the patient but also for their loved ones, who are often just as distressed and scared as the hospice care recipient. Hospice care is often the best option when dealing with people who are at the end of their lives, and it makes the whole ordeal a little more bearable.