When you’re looking for care for a loved one who is dying, it’s important to understand how hospice works and what kind of care can be expected.
Hospice care is a form of end-of-life treatment focused on pain management and comfort rather than curing the underlying illness. Hospice care can take place at home or in a facility, and it’s available to patients who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and have less than six months to live.
Hospice care is provided by a team of professionals, including physicians, nurses, social workers, physical therapists, and other medical professionals. Hospice care aims to help patients achieve the highest possible quality of life while they’re still alive. It also helps families cope with the stress of caring for someone with an incurable disease.
The best part about hospice care is that it is individualized. So, the type and frequency of care differ from patient to patient based on their unique needs.
There are four main types of hospice care:
- Comfort Care or Continuing Care: Comfort care focuses on pain and symptom management, patient comfort, and support for family members. This is for patients who need more intensive support than what can be provided in their homes or communities. It usually involves 24/7 nursing support and sometimes special equipment that might not be available at home or elsewhere (such as oxygen concentrators). A patient’s family may stay with them while continuing care services are provided.
- Respite Care: Respite care provides temporary relief for family caregivers by giving them time away from caring for their loved one so they can rest or take care of other responsibilities. This gives caregivers a break from caring for their loved ones while they get some much-needed time off from the demands of providing constant hands-on care.
- Home Hospice Care: Hospice at home allows patients to stay in the comfort of their own homes while receiving hospice services. This type of hospice care may include visits from nurses and other professionals who provide medical care and emotional support to patients and their families over time. The care team may include a social worker, chaplain, occupational therapist, and volunteers.
- Inpatient (hospital-based) Care: Inpatient Care allows patients to receive palliative therapy while remaining at an assisted living residence or nursing facility. The patient receives palliative and supportive care in a hospital setting from a hospice team that includes physicians, nurses, social workers, therapists, and volunteers.
Hospice care is a special, compassionate form of healthcare many people need during their final days. If you’d like to learn more about hospice care, please reach out to us or visit our Hospice Services page.