Deciding that hospice is the next step for your elderly loved one may evoke some sadness or fear for you and your family. Hospice may feel like the end of the road, or like death is inevitable for your loved one. However, this special type of care offers so many new resources that may begin to have you feeling relieved and like your loved one is receiving the care that he or she needs.
Hospice is about keeping a patient comfortable after treatment has ceased to work. With the help of the patient’s primary caregiver, this comfort is provided around the clock, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. You can already see how this option can provide you and your loved one with peace of mind, in addition to a level of ease you wouldn’t have had otherwise.
What Does Hospice Care Provide?
Let’s begin by looking at the specifics of exactly what hospice care is and the services it can provide. To start, hospice can be provided for a patient in the home or at a hospice facility. With either option, a close family member or friend is asked to be the patient’s primary caregiver. This designated person works with the patient’s hospice team to come up with a care plan that will help keep the patient comfortable and at ease.
The patient’s hospice team is a group of health care professionals, usually including doctors, nurses, counselors, social workers, home aides, and therapists. This group of specialists helps to ensure that the patient’s medical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs are being met, based on their care plan.
A care plan is developed based on the patient’s specific needs, and what will allow him or her to be most at ease. This combination of medical, emotional, physical, and spiritual care helps the patient and his or her family to stress less and enjoy each other more. Additionally, if the patient begins to recover during this time, he or she can be transferred out of hospice and back into regular treatment.
With the primary caregiver and the hospice team, a patient can receive 24-hour care depending on his or her care plan. Perhaps the primary caregiver has the means to stay with the patient, or the hospice nurses work in shifts to provide continuous care.
Home aides are another option to ensure that the patient is monitored at all times. Not only do home aides help with activities of daily living, or ADLs, but they can offer respite to primary caregivers and take over for a set amount of time, or they can provide care 24/7. Additionally, hospice nurses are typically available by phone 24/7 and make regular visits to check on the patient.