You or a loved one decides to stop treatment for a terminal illness because it’s no longer working or because you’re ready to do so. Your doctor might refer you to end-of-life or hospice care in Alameda County.
We all want to feel better to spend more time on the critical things in life, like spending time with the people and things we love. This is when hospice, or death care, may come in handy.
Some people may think that using hospice signifies that they’ve already given up. In other cases, people may fear that they will not be able to access the necessary medical care. However, instead of attempting to treat a condition, this service aims to improve your overall well-being.
If you’re religious, you may have a chaplain (or a home health aide or trained volunteers) on your team. It’s a team effort to address your physical, mental, and spiritual requirements.
Family members can also receive hospice care. Help with everyday tasks like cleaning the house and grocery shopping is also available.
In-patient Hospice Care: What to Expect
Licensed practical nurses, licensed nursing assistants, and home health aides work in inpatient facilities to meet the individual requirements of their patients. Those who require it can take advantage of 24-hour nursing care as a bonus. Everything from dressing, changing bedding, preparing meals, administering medications, and providing oral hygiene is taken care of for patients. As a hospice care facility works closely with the staff to ensure that patients receive the best possible care, its primary focus is medical.
Consider the fact that hospice services are offered in addition to the medical attention that would otherwise be available. Medication, medical equipment, and medical supplies can all be delivered the same day if needed (such as incontinence supplies, latex gloves, and bedpans). All of a patient’s needs relating to a terminal illness will be met during hospice care, which is covered by Medicare, medical, and private insurance companies to the full extent.
Interdisciplinary practitioners from various fields work together to provide comprehensive treatment for our patients. They include doctors, nurses, other health care professionals, volunteers, and other community members. All three play an essential part in ensuring that the patient’s pain and symptoms are reduced as much as feasible.
What services does hospice provide?
All hospice providers are required to provide certain services. However, their service models, staffing patterns, and types of support services supplied vary significantly.
Symptom management and palliative care
Supportive care, symptom management, or comfort care are other terms for palliative care. It can be delivered independently of hospice care (for example, while still undergoing active cancer therapy). However, it is frequently included in hospice care if cancer has progressed beyond treatment. Palliative care is not a form of cancer treatment. Rather than that, it is used to prevent or cure symptoms and adverse effects as soon as they occur.
As part of hospice care, palliative care considers how the cancer experience affects the complete person and works to alleviate symptoms, pain, and stress. It empowers patients and their caregivers by allowing them to participate in their treatment planning. It’s about meeting all of their care needs. The palliative care team’s specialist professionals can assist in identifying and managing any mental, physical, emotional, social, or spiritual concerns that may arise.
The primary objective of incorporating palliative care into hospice services is to ensure patients’ comfort while allowing them to enjoy their final stage of life. This means that discomfort, pain, nausea, and other side effects make you feel as good as possible while remaining attentive enough to enjoy your surroundings and make critical decisions.
Hospice treatment at home and hospice care in a hospital setting
While most hospice care takes place at home, there may be instances when you need to be admitted to a hospital, extended-care facility, or inpatient hospice clinic. Your home hospice team can arrange for inpatient care and will maintain contact with you and your family. You and your family can return to in-home care when you are ready.
Concern for the spiritual
Because everyone’s spiritual needs and religious beliefs are unique, spiritual care is tailored to your requirements. This may involve assisting you in determining what death means to you, helping you say goodbye, or assisting you with a particular religious rite or ritual.
Meetings of the family
Regular meetings, frequently led by the hospice nurse or social worker, educate family members about your illness and what to expect. Additionally, these meetings allow everyone to express their thoughts, discuss what is happening and what is needed, and learn about death and the dying process. These meetings can provide invaluable support and stress alleviation for family members. Daily updates may also be given informally during routine visits when the nurse or nursing assistant speaks with you and your caregivers.
The hospice team coordinates and supervises all treatment seven days a week, 24 hours a day. This team is in charge of ensuring that all services involved share information. This could affect the hospital, the physician, and other community professionals such as pharmacists, clergy, and funeral directors. You and your caregivers are encouraged to contact your hospice staff on any day or night if you are experiencing difficulty. There is always someone there to assist you with any situation that may arise. Hospice care provides reassurance to you and your family that you are not alone and that assistance is available at any moment.
Some hospice programs offer respite care to give caregivers a break for patients receiving care at home. Respite care can be provided for up to five days and involves the person with cancer being cared for either in the hospice facility or reserved beds in nursing homes or hospitals. Families can organize a mini-vacation, attend special events, or simply rest at home while their loved ones receive treatment in an inpatient facility.
Assistance with grief
Bereavement is a time of grief following a loss. The hospice care staff works with surviving family members to assist them in grieving. Through visits, phone calls, other contacts, and support groups, a trained volunteer, clergy member, or professional counselor provides support to survivors. The hospice team can send family members and caregivers for additional medical or professional treatment. Often, bereavement services are provided for approximately a year following the patient’s death.
What is the difference between hospice and palliative care?
Both hospice and palliative care strive to improve the quality of life and alleviate the symptoms and adverse effects of persons suffering from severe illnesses. Both facilities offer specialized care teams that handle their residents’ physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual requirements. However, while hospice care frequently incorporates palliative care, the two are not synonymous.
How they are dissimilar
When assistance is rendered:
Hospice care is supplied and provided to patients nearing the end of an incurable illness or approaching death, such as certain people with advanced or metastatic cancer.
At any stage of a severe illness, palliative care can be offered and provided.
What other care can be provided:
- When no active or curative treatment is available for a critical illness, hospice care is provided. During hospice care, “treatment” is treating symptoms and adverse effects.
- Palliative care can be administered along with active treatment. In other words, it can be used in conjunction with chemotherapy, radiation, or immunotherapy to treat cancer.
The care team’s responsibilities include the following:
- A hospice care team is responsible for coordinating the majority of a patient’s care and communicating with the patient’s medical team.
- A palliative care team is distinct from the medical care team that provides and manages treatment for the patient’s disease but collaborates with it.