Hospice provides palliative and supportive medical care to terminally ill patients and their families in order to meet the special needs arising out of the physical, emotional, spiritual and social stresses experienced during the final stages of terminal illness and death.
For many seriously ill residents, hospice and palliative care offers a more dignified and comfortable alternative to spending your final months in the impersonal environment of a hospital. Palliative medicine helps patients manage pain while hospice provides special care to improve quality of life for both the patient and their family. Seeking hospice and palliative care isn’t about giving up hope or hastening death, but rather a way to get the most appropriate care in the last phase of life.
Hospice care focuses on all aspects of a resident’s life and well-being: physical, social, emotional, and spiritual. There is no age restriction; anyone in the late stages of life is eligible for hospice services. While specific hospice services differ in the amenities they provide, most include a hospice interdisciplinary team, or IDT, that includes the patient’s physician, a hospice doctor, a case manager, registered nurses and licensed practical nurses, a counselor, a dietitian, therapist, pharmacologist, social workers, a minister, and various trained volunteers.
Hospice care providers offer specialized knowledge and support at the end of life just as obstetricians and midwives lend support and expertise at the start of life. Hospice can reduce anxiety in both the terminally ill patient and his or her family by helping them make the most of the time remaining and achieve some level of acceptance.
When terminally ill residents, who are often already in a weakened physical and mental state, make the decision to receive hospice and palliative care instead of continued curative treatment, they avoid the dangers of over-treatment. In addition to focusing on the physical health and comfort of a resident, hospice care also focuses on the emotional needs and spiritual well-being of the terminally ill and their loved ones.