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What Is Hospice Care?

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Until a person has to deal with an extended illness, either their own or a family member or friend, they usually aren't familiar with hospice. Here is what you should know about this valuable service.

Is Palliative Care And Hospice Care The Same?

While they share similarities, they are not the same thing. Palliative care is the care that begins with the diagnosis. This is the support a patient will receive during the initial acceptance and treatment phase of their illness. For example, a person who has just been diagnosed with cancer and will be going through chemotherapy or radiation will receive palliative care. Hospice is the care a patient receives when treatment has failed and a life expectancy of typically less than six months has been given.

When Does One Transition To Hospice?

Hospice is available to patients both in an institutionalized setting as well as at-home care. Many people with a terminal illness want to die at home rather than in the hospital. While this is understandable, it isn't always possible, or they may change their mind as their disease progresses. Getting set up on with a hospice provider sooner rather than later will ensure that you will have the support you need through the entire process. Hospice also provides a tremendous amount of support to your family and other caregivers. The entire process of disease, dying, and death is a multi-faceted, difficult part of life, and everyone involved needs all the support they can get as they go through it.

What People Comprise A Part Of The Hospice Team?

Your hospice team will consist of many people with many functions. Physicians, physician's assistants, nurses, certified nursing assistants, home health aides, grief counselors, social workers, psychologists, clergy, and trained volunteers all play a part in providing hospice care.

What Services Does Hospice Provide?

Hospice care is holistic, meaning it looks to care for all of a human's needs. This encompasses medical, physical, emotional, spiritual or religious, and social needs. Hospice isn't just about meeting any medical needs that arise.

  • Medical — Medications and whatever other medical care you are receiving.
  • Physical — Medical equipment, such as a wheelchair, oxygen, and adult diapers.
  • Emotional — Counselors and social workers provide the emotional support needed throughout the process.
  • Spiritual/Religious — Members of the clergy or other similar practitioners who provide support in the spiritual realm.
  • Social — Volunteers often provide the social contact with the outside world that is a necessary component of coming to terms with dying.

For more information, contact companies like Aspen Healthcare Services.