Hospice Facts

What is Hospice?

  • A philosophy of care dedicated to caring for individuals with a life-limiting illness and their family.
  • Based on the holistic view of addressing palliative (pain/symptom control) care with regard to physical, spiritual, emotional and psychosocial support.
  • A care alternative that emphasizes the quality of life.
  • An opportunity to spend as much remaning time in the comfort of home as possible, realizing the benefits and limitations to home care.
  • A chance to utilize the approach of an interdiscipliniary team for support.
  • Maintaining the ability to make decisions that allow as much "normalcy" as possible.
  • A home centered program regardless where patients live (whether it be home or nursing facility).

How does Hospice work?

Referrals may come from physicians, nurses, family members or patients themselves.

Hospice care is ordered by and managed by the patient's attending physician.

A plan of care is implemented and centered on support garnered by an interdisciplinary team with the most important member being the patient, with the extent of team involvement being determined by the patient.  The Interdisciplinary Team includes:

  • A nurse who visits intermittently to provide skilled assessment and to act as a liason to the primary physician.
  • A social worker to provide resource information and emotional support.
  • A hospice aide to assist with personal care.
  • A pastor to provide spiritual care if requested, and is also available as a liason to the patient's primary pastor.
  • A dietitian to assist with nutritional counseling.
  • A pharmacist to provide information concerning medications.
  • A homemaker to assist with light housekeeping tasks.
  • A volunteer coordinator to implement volunteer services including transportation, respite, and child care.
  • Therapists who can assess and provide physical, occupational and speech therapy (consult only).
  • A bereavement coordinator to provide follow up to the family unit after the death of the patient.

Hospice often draws families together to care for a loved one.  It can assist in enhancing a relationship or to assist in preparing families for the "final goodbye".