Hospice isn’t just a treatment for those who face terminal illness. While many believe that choosing hospice means giving up hope, it’s anything but. It’s a philosophy of care aimed to support emotional and physical needs, easing discomfort, pain, and distress. It also helps to promote dignity while relieving suffering and facilitating closure for patients as well as their families and friends.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there were 4,300 hospice care agencies as of 2016, including facilities like the hospice of Virginia, that provide different services to people of all ages, from children to the elderly like these.
Counseling Services that Provide Emotional Support to Patients and Their Families
Hospice patients and their loved ones can take advantage of a variety of counseling services. As dealing with a terminal illness takes both an emotional and physical toll on patients and their families, receiving the guidance and support of a counselor can help everyone involved. These services can come in various forms, from social workers to spiritual or pastoral support, as well as bereavement counseling for caregivers and other family members after the patient has passed.
Relieving Pain and Providing Other Medications to Improve Quality of Life
As many terminal illnesses like cancer can be very painful, with the pain increasing through each stage, hospice services include pain relief, which can be provided in the comfort of the patient’s home. When the patient is staying at a hospice facility, they’ll also be able to access a wide range of specialists who can ensure pain is limited as much as possible. Pain relief is one of the most important benefits of hospice, helping to improve the quality of life for patients and their families. Hospice generally covers all medication, not only for alleviating pain but to address other symptoms.
Hospice patients are assigned case manager nurses. These nurses typically visit patients one to three days a week, but patients will also have access to on-call nurses 24/7. Of course, the hospice patient will also receive care through their regular physician in cooperation with the medical director of the hospice.
When a patient is primarily staying at home, some home-health aides can help. Often referred to as an HHA, a hospice home health aide is trained to provide personal care, visiting hospice patients at home one to three days each week. The particular type of care varies based on the individual, but some of the more common care given includes bathing, dressing, shaving, combing hair, nail care, oral care, cleaning and caring for catheters, helping with incontinence or toileting, back rubs, or massages, assistance with walking and range of motion exercises. They can also educate caregivers and other family members on patient care so that they’ll feel comfortable providing care in between home-health aide visits.
Hospice services often include providing equipment the patient needs in the home to have a comfortable, safe environment. That may include a wheelchair, hospital bed, and oxygen, as well as other necessities such as latex gloves, bandages, \or adult diapers.