Hospice is customarily provided during the last few months of a person’s life wherever the patient lives (personal residence; retirement home, assisted living facility or foster home,) and provided when the patient’s goals of care focus on comfort rather than cure. Hospice cares for both the patient and family. Hospice patients have either an advanced illness or life limiting condition and are in declining health. A holistic approach to care, hospice patients and their families receive support from a nurse, social worker, doctor, chaplain and volunteers to provide symptom management and comfort care.
The Goals of Hospice Care
- To focus on the needs of both the patient and the family to improve quality of life.
- To include care from a team including a physician, nurse, social worker, chaplain, nursing assistant, pharmacist, trained volunteers, and necessary specialists.
- To treat the whole person, not just the disease.
- To attend to practical needs such as transportation and assistance with bathing in addition to emotional and spiritual needs such as caregiver stress, grief, and fear of dying.
Medicare Certified Hospice Services
- Hospice medical director guidance
- Registered nurse visits with 24 hour availability
- Medical social work
- Hospice aides to assist with personal care
- Home medical equipment and supplies
- Pharmaceuticals required for comfort care
- Rehabilitation services
- Respite services
- Family/caregiver support; bereavement counseling
- Volunteer support
Examples of Hospice Referrals
- With a life limiting prognosis, such as cancer or an end-stage chronic illness.
- Who, along with his or her family, is seeking comfort care and does not desire aggressive treatment for a life limiting diagnosis.
- Who needs assistance with symptom management from skilled clinicians.
- Wishing to receive care and remain in a home setting of their choice.
- Who, along with family, can benefit from the support of a end of life care trained interdisciplinary team.