About Hospice

Hospice is a choice

Hospice care offers comfort, compassion, and dignity to those with a life-limiting illness. Hospice is a philosophy of coordinated care for patients and their loved ones. Hospice is not a place, but a concept of care that allows a patient to die with dignity and respect. It focuses on the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the patient and family. No other medical care provides this type of patient care.

Hospice care affirms life and regards dying as a normal process. It foregoes curative medical treatment, but neither hastens nor postpones death. Hospice care is personalized to meet the needs of each patient, while acknowledging the family's role in the patient’s care. Bereavement services are offered to the family for a year following the patient’s death.

The patient and family are encouraged to be active participants in the care plan and to express any concerns and wishes to the hospice team.

Hospice care focuses on the quality of a patient’s life. Pain management and symptom relief are at the core of the hospice concept. The hospice team translates this philosophy in their care plan to ensure a patient’s remaining days will be peaceful, free of pain and discomfort.

About the Hospice Team

Hospice care is provided by an interdisciplinary team of medical, human health and service professionals, which includes physicians, nurses, home health aides, social workers, grief counselors, volunteers, spiritual caregivers/chaplains and family members.

Physicians provide medical services throughout the course of the illness, and are an integral part of the hospice team. From initiating the discussion about hospice to signing the death certificate, the physician's involvement is critical to the patient, family and other members of the hospice team

Nurses manage the patient’s care, assess the patient’s condition, educate and support caregivers, and initiate any changes in the patient’s care plan.

Home health aides:

Home health aides provide assistance with the personal care of the patient, which includes bathing, dressing, and using the toilet.

Social workers:
Social workers provide assistance with practical and financial concerns as well as emotional support, counseling and bereavement follow-up. They evaluate the need for volunteers and other support services needed by the family and facilitate communication between the family and community agencies.

Bereaved counselors:
Bereaved counselors provide counseling to the patient’s family upon the patient’s death. In addition, grief support is offered to the family for a year after their loved one has passed.

Volunteers provide respite care and support to family or caregivers, administrative support to a hospice, hands-on care to dying patients, and other assistance to enhance the patient’s quality of life

Spiritual caregivers/chaplains:
Spiritual caregivers/chaplains provide support to patients and families, often serving as a liaison between them and their faith community. They often assist with memorial services and funeral arrangements.

Hospice is a choice for patients who want to be cared for at home.

Do you have a question about hospice care? E-mail your question and one of our medical, social, bereavement or spiritual experts will email you an individual response.