What is hospice?
- Hospice is a philosophy of palliative care for dying people and special care for their families.
- Hospice treats the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the patient. Hospice care takes place in the patient’s home, or a home-like setting. The goal is to allow patients to be as free from pain and as comfortable as possible so they can make the most of the time that remains to them.
- The hospice team consists of the hospice coordinator, physicians, nurses, social workers, pharmacist, dietitian, chaplain, home health aides, volunteers and bereavement counselors.
- Hospice considers helping the family an essential part of its mission. Bereavement counseling and support to the family and loved ones of the patient after death are services provided by hospice.
- Volunteer support is an essential part of the hospice program.
- Hospice believes the quality of life to be as important as length of life.
- Hospice is a benefit covered by Medicare, Medi-Cal, and private insurances. Many hospices have the ability to donate care to nonfunded patients.
The time to learn about hospice is before illness strikes
- Hospice should be discussed as an option with any patient who is diagnosed with a life threatening illness. Health care professionals are obligated to educate patients about their options, whether it be curative or palliative. Planning for the future is essential for anyone diagnosed with a terminal illness.
- It is the responsibility of physicians to discuss terminality, treatment options and intensity of care desired. The nursing role is to advocate for the rights of the patient, continue educating about their treatment options whether curative or palliative and to continue communication with the physician. It is essential to make a referral to Social Services when any patient is diagnosed with a life threatening illness. They will assist with living wills, DPA, DPAHC and future planning.