Many people find themselves wondering, “What is hospice?” This special type of care focuses on providing physical, emotional and spiritual support to patients who are in the final stage of life. This concept of care benefits the patient and their loved ones by providing symptom management as needed and allowing the entire family to focus on enjoying quality time together.
Hospice is a common choice for many patients who are suffering from a serious or terminal disease and either no longer respond to curative treatments or elect not to continue receiving them. It is crucial to have realistic, open conversations with your loved one and their doctor(s) to determine their goals and when hospice might be the right choice. Unfortunately, the common trend in the United States is that patients, family members and even health care professionals tend to hesitate when it comes to choosing hospice.
A patient’s comfort and quality of life are the top priorities in hospice care, and these goals can be addressed with many techniques and in a number of different settings. This type of care can be provided in any place that a patient considers “home,” including a private residence, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and inpatient hospice houses. Not only do these services provide patients with relief from often intensive treatments, but they also provide respite for caregivers and family members. Loved ones are able to enjoy their time with the patient rather than focusing on meeting all of their daily care needs.
The 4 Levels of Hospice Care:
|Routine Home Care|
Services are provided in your loved one’s “home.” Hospice employees will visit on a regular basis depending on the patient’s needs and prescribed plan of care to provide nursing care, support and education. This could be daily, semiweekly, weekly, etc.
|Intensive Care / Continuous Care|
If a patient is experiencing difficulty managing their symptoms, they may receive up to 24 hours of care per day in their home setting. This option provides more frequent monitoring, usually by an RN, LPN, and/or a home health aide.
This can be provided to patients located anywhere in a hospital or another inpatient health care facility while their care needs exceed the abilities of both regular and continuous home care services. Hospice employees will work with facility staff to make sure care goals are met.
When family members or caregivers need a break from providing care or must see to other responsibilities, patients may temporarily stay in an inpatient setting to continue receiving hospice care.
Learn more about Hospice and end-of-life care in these articles written by elder care experts and experienced caregivers.