Hospice care is a form of medical care that addresses not just physical, but also the emotional, social, and spiritual needs of a patient; while focusing on dignity and quality of life for patients with a prognosis of 6 months or less to live.
According to a 2014 report by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), an estimated 1.6 to 1.7 million patients received services from hospice in 2014. Although it’s a difficult decision—it is one often chosen, and hospice can ensure that the focus is kept on the quality of life and comfortable living of a loved one.
What is Hospice?
In healthcare, hospice is considered the model for quality and compassion for people facing a life-limiting illness. The hospice program focuses on living comfortably during end-of-life, rather than curing an ailment. It grants relief and comfort to the patient in order to enhance every reasonable element involved with quality of life, while also providing strength and support to families during the bereavement process for up to 13 months following the passing of a loved one. The overarching goal of hospice is to always improve the quality of life for the patient and family members involved with a hospice care—and even well after the passing of a loved one.
In most cases, hospice is provided in the home, but patients can also receive care from freestanding hospice centers, long-term care facilities, nursing homes, and hospitals. No matter where the patient resides, hospice care will always improve the quality of life for them through its network of supportive professionals. It provides medicated and non-medicated pain and symptom management, as well as emotional and spiritual support that is expressly tailored to their wishes and needs.
A Philosophy of Care
The values of hospice focus entirely on achieving the highest possible quality of life for a patient, for as long as possible. The hospice care philosophy is centered around treating the whole patient, which involves their physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social needs. It also helps to better support a loved one’s family members and help them make difficult decisions during the process.
By no means does electing hospice care imply one is simply giving up on living life. It can be seen as a reprieve from curative efforts that may cause discomfort. Once a patient is comfortable and stress levels are reduced, he or she has a small chance to live longer than expected based on certain factors.
Some patients are capable of recovering enough to be discharged from the program, and may choose to resume curative treatments. Hospice is purely an optional service, and a competent patient always has a right to leave or refuse treatment. It is always the patient’s decision—and a patient’s needs and wishes are what ultimately dictates the entire process of hospice care.
Making the Right Choice
Choosing to elect hospice can be a challenging decision for everyone involved, and the program is designed to support people from the very beginning. Although it is a complex decision, hospice can greatly benefit the quality of life for a patient, while providing strength and support to their family.
Managing everyday life with a serious illness can feel nearly impossible, and creates hazardous levels of stress in a patient. Experiencing frequent pain and discomfort can greatly diminish the quality of life. One of the main objectives in hospice is improving the current situation and supporting a higher quality of life.
The value of life is equally as important to the length of it, and hospice provides round-the-clock assurance that a patient can access they need during each lasting moment. No one is alone in the journey, and choosing hospice care is a group effort that involves more than just a caregiver. Knowing someone is there and always ready to support them truly provides peace of mind for families during the difficult process.
Understandably, the average person will have many questions about the nature of a hospice program and what is to be expected in terms of the care provided. Many people are unfamiliar with the benefits hospice offers to an individual’s overall quality of life. It is helpful for families to ask any questions to hospice providers about any typical procedures or experiences their loved one might have during care.
Although each patient is treated based on their unique needs, there are a basic set of general services, including:
- Nursing at the patient’s location
- Counseling and support for family members
- Physician care and advice
- Pain management
- Physical, speech, and occupational therapy
- Spiritual advisement and counseling
- Medical supplies, prescriptions, and equipment
- Instructs family on how to care for patient
- Nutritionist consultation
- Light housekeeping
These services are often covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and other private insurance options. If you are unsure of how to afford hospice care for your loved one, a social worker can often assist with understanding what is involved with coverage—or you can directly contact a hospice provider.
Contact Harbor Light Hospice Today
The tenets of Hospice care have always focused on living, more than anything else. You can contact Harbor Light Hospice by sending us a message or giving us a call today to learn more about the quality of life benefits provided by the hospice program, and if it is the right decision for your loved one at this time.