It is normal to have a seemingly endless array of questions when a family member enters hospice care, or to worry whether strangers will be able to truly care for your loved one or not. The hospice team is there to help you, though, and you are always in control of your loved one’s care. Hospice care adds to your resources and helps you answer important questions to ensure that you and your loved one feel supported and comfortable as you navigate their new and often changing needs. Read on to learn what to expect from hospice care and how it can benefit your family.
The primary goal of hospice care is to help your loved one feel as comfortable as possible. While it is important to ensure their physical well being, most hospice care teams will also include chaplains and mental health counselors with whom your loved one can meet to address their emotional and spiritual needs.
Talking to specially trained counselors and chaplains can provide them with comfort during a difficult period in their lives and improve their mood significantly. Many hospice care teams provide similar resources for you and your family as well, allowing you to speak with professionals during your emotional time of need. This level of emotional support is just one of the many benefits to hospice care when learning what to expect from hospice care.
Scheduled Visits and Daily Support
Each member of the hospice care team, which can include nurses, nursing assistants, doctors, and more, will schedule time with your loved one as needed. Some may visit daily or weekly, while others may request more irregular check ins. You will have full control of that schedule and can request that certain team members visit during certain hours, if possible, to accommodate your family’s needs. During these visits, your loved one will likely receive help with activities of daily living, including dressing, bathing, eating, and toileting, if necessary. The hospice team can also administer medication, engage your loved one in some light exercise, and help organize their living area. These services allow your loved one to receive comprehensive care in their own home and give you time off from these duties to rest and address other family responsibilities from time to time.
Medication and Equipment Deliveries
Hospice care typically requires the use of special equipment, such as oxygen tanks or hospital beds, as well as medication. The hospice care team will inform you of which items are necessary and arrange for their delivery as early as possible after your loved one is registered for hospice.
They will also provide training to help you address any issues or make adjustments to the equipment if they should occur when a hospice team member is unavailable. Medication will also be delivered as needed to help manage your loved one’s pain and ensure their continued comfort.
Access to Information
Your loved one’s hospice care team will be made up of experienced professionals who are able to answer any questions you may have about your loved one’s diagnosis, needs, and care requirements. You should never hesitate to use them as a resource and way to alleviate any concerns you may have about your loved one. With the team’s support, you can learn new ways to ensure your loved one remains comfortable and provide better care for them when the hospice care team is not visiting. They can also act as intermediaries between you and your loved one’s doctors or other care providers, if necessary, to ensure that your wishes are clearly communicated and enacted.
While hospice care occurs in the comfort of your loved one’s own home, they may need to visit physical therapists, doctors, and other medical professionals during their time in hospice. This can be difficult for families to arrange due to the specific needs of each person, which may require the use of a medical van.
Your loved one’s hospice care team can help arrange for this transportation if necessary or simply drive your loved one to appointments if you are unable to do so yourself. With this support, you will be able to tend to other family needs while knowing that your loved one is being cared for and attending all of their important appointments.
Choosing a Hospice Care Provider
Speak to Harbor Light Hospice for more information about what to expect from hospice care and how these services can benefit your family. Harbor Light Hospice’s experienced professionals include certified nursing assistants, dieticians, licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, therapists, and social workers, in addition to chaplains and volunteers. Your dedicated team will create a customized care plan for your loved one that helps them feel comfortable by addressing their unique emotional, spiritual, and physical needs throughout this stage of their life. Harbor Light also provides comprehensive counseling services for the families of loved ones in hospice.