People often associate hospice care with staying in a facility until the end. The truth is hospice can extend to the home as well. Hospice providers help support families that are caring for loved ones who are terminally ill. Those considering hospice might ask, “What does hospice provide at home?” Home care gives these family members a chance to spend time with someone they love and be there for them.
Understanding Hospice Care
Hospice is a multifunctional service that provides compassionate comfort care along with pain and symptom management. The hospice staff takes a holistic approach that includes a focus on the emotional side of being terminally ill.
These dedicated healthcare professionals also work with families and spouses to offer educational and psychological reinforcement as they deal with the illness of someone they love. Hospice is a flexible service. The goal is to improve the quality of life for someone in need of care, but that means different things to different people. For some, all they want is to spend their remaining time at home, and hospice service makes that happen. Hospice is available at home or in a more structured environment, such as a nursing facility or assisted living program.
Is Hospice the Same Thing as Palliative Care?
Palliative care is a long-term approach to illness management that starts at the time of the diagnosis. Not all patients undergoing palliative care are terminal, either. Someone diagnosed with cancer can get help and support through palliative service and become a cancer survivor. Eventually, palliative patients may require hospice care.
A patient in a hospice program is nearing the end of their life. Hospice care helps make them comfortable at home, or in a long-term facility, by providing quality care designed to make their life better until the end.
Who Provides Hospice Care at Home?
Hospice care requires a multidisciplinary team of health professionals that consists of:
- The primary care doctor
- The hospice medical director
- A social worker
- Family caregiver(s)
- Nursing assistants
There are also hospice volunteers on hand to assist family members and provide companionship. There may be psychological counselors and a spiritual advisor on the team as well.
What Services Does Hospice Provide at Home?
The goal of any hospice care program is to provide individualized attention that supports and improves the quality of life for someone who is terminally ill. There is no one-size-fits-all care plan for a patient receiving home hospice service.
It starts with an individualized assessment to see what the patient needs to improve their quality of life. Home care typically involves:
- Pain and comfort management
- Counseling—psychosocial, emotional and spiritual
- Assistance in daily tasks, such as getting dressed and bathing
- Managing nutritional care
However, the service isn’t just for the patient. Hospice extends to the families and caregivers as well. For example, respite care refers to giving caretakers the chance to take a break.
Providing for someone you love who is ill can be exhausting. Through respite care, a family member can step away when they need to and know the person in their charge is safe and comfortable.
Hospice provides caregiver education, too. The family learns not only how to help the patient, but also how to take care of themselves at the same time, so they can avoid emotional and physical burnout. The hospice staff encourages family members to ask questions and utilize resources available to them through the service.
Hospice team members are also there to manage the patient’s final days. They have the training to recognize the signs and help provide support during those difficult days to both the patient and the family.
There is no reason hospice can’t mean staying at home instead of going to a nursing facility. Hospice care is not about a place. It is about providing families and patients facing a terminal illness with emotional, medical, and physical support to make that time more fulfilling and comfortable.
If you have questions about hospice care or are looking for a service, give us a call so we can help.