SERVICES OFFERED IN A HOSPICE
Availability of services is one important aspect of hospice care. Hospice patients can receive services without limitations or restrictions, regardless of their financial status or residence. Services may be provided by a hospice organization directly or through a contract with other entities.
Physical Comfort Measures
Hospice organizations provide physical comfort measures that help maintain the patient's level of well-being and remain comfortable even in the face of serious illness. These measures include pain medications, anti-nausea medications, skin preparations for dryness, antibiotic ointments for bed sores, catheters, nebulizers for breathing difficulties, special bedding equipment to prevent skin breakdowns, and others depending on illness and location.
Emotional and Spiritual Support
The emotional and spiritual support provided by hospice organizations is an important part of the care they offer. This might include providing a listening ear, helping to make funeral arrangements, or just being there for support. Chaplains or other spiritual counselors may also provide counseling and guidance when needed.
Hospice Care at Home
Most hospice care is provided in the home, but it can also be given in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or hospital. The goal of hospice care is to allow patients to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. This not only allows them to be with family and friends, but it is also often less expensive than care in a nursing home or hospital.
Bereavement Counseling for Family Members
After a loved one dies, family members may need help coping with their loss. Hospice organizations provide bereavement counseling services to help family members work through their grief. The duration of counseling depends on the individual, but it is generally offered for at least one year after the death of a loved one.
End-of-Life Care Planning
One of the most important services hospice organizations provide is end-of-life care planning. This includes helping patients and their families make decisions about care near the end of life, including whether or not to pursue aggressive treatment. Hospice organizations also help families make arrangements for care after the death of a loved one.
Patient and Family Education
Hospice staff members provide patients and family members education about their illness, treatment options, available resources, and symptom management techniques for physical symptoms such as pain or nausea. This goal may require collaboration among several disciplines to allow continuity of care.
Assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
This includes help with bathing, dressing, toileting/incontinence care, maintenance of continence aids such as catheters or ostomies for people in certain circumstances. Assistance with ADLs also includes getting in/out of bed/chair if needed. It also includes assistance in taking medications when appropriate.
Another service offered in a hospice is advocacy. An advocate who works with the dying may work with family members, caregivers, health care professionals, and religious figures to help them understand end-of-life issues like pain management, decision making, advance directives, and other important matters that will need to be addressed when caring for patients at the end of their lives.
These are just some of the services offered by hospice organizations. For more information, please visit the Gentle Transitions Hospice website.