If a loved one close to you is suffering from incurable injury or illness, or perhaps you are, it may be time to consider reaching out for professional care. Over 1.5 million patients utilize hospice care annually. Entering into the final stage of life requires the tools and sensitivity to care for your loved one’s daily health.
When coming close to the end, loved ones need not be shielded from their illness, but merely guided into their final resting place with dignity. The compassion of a hospice and palliative professionals not only supports the transition into the afterlife for the person they are sent to care for, but for the family members who are often the primary day-to-day care providers.
Types of Physical Care
A hospice and palliative care provider works alongside an existing care structure and is not meant to take the place of a medical professional. Instead, the hospice care will integrate themselves into the care routine, and provide pain and symptom management within any treatment. A staggering 66% of hospice care took place inside the home, showing a smooth integration into the daily routine of the patient.
They are the expert model for care, utilizing medical and wellness techniques specific to each patient. A hospice acts like the glue solidifying a strong network of family and friends to support the terminally ill.
The focus of a hospice transitions the care team from curing illness, to caring for symptoms. This technique ensures a higher quality of life as it is drawn to a close. A hospice performs a variety of tasks to reduce stress for the family as well as the patient. The goals of the family and loved one vary case by case, and deciding these tasks is a personal part of the initial home visit.
Many patients prefer the hospice to aid in the following:
- Pain management
- Symptom management
- Physical therapy
- Instruct family care
- Fulfill and deliver prescriptions
- Hygiene care
- Nutrition guidance and prep
Types of Emotional Support
Emotional and spiritual wellness are integrated into the skills of the hospice and palliative care provider. It is an equal part of daily care, tailored to each person’s beliefs and essential to promoting compassionate service. Counselors may specialize in spiritual healing and integrating faith into the counseling. There are also specific counseling techniques for the relationship to the loved one, ensuring a tailored experience for the patient, and also for the family.
The hospice has been trained to work with fears, depression, and even celebration of the end of life, while respecting the wishes of the patient and their family. Because the majority of hospice patients are over the age of 85, the family must be involved in the emotional support provided, whether they can see the need or not.
Over 90% of all hospice care involves day-to-day tasks. With the normalcy of daily therapy, the patient and the family are able to support one another through this emotional period. Emotional support through the hospice is not centered around the negativity of the life, but around the positivity and celebration of the person, to continue to provide quality to the final stage of life.
Planning on the best emotional support varies from family to family. Specific emotional support must be unique to the family, but many consider the following to be of most help:
- End-of-life advice
- Unconditional listening
- Counseling with or without religious influence
- Family meetings and therapy
- Individual therapy for loss
- Respectful discussion of death
What is Respite Care?
The hospice is also available to provide short-term overnight care to relieve the familial support system for special occasions. The patient is moved from their place of primary care into a medical facility for full-time supervision by the hospice staff. These medical facilities can be at the stand-alone agency, a specific area in a local hospital, or a part of a nursing home. This allows the support systems to travel, break away for special occasions, or simply enjoy a break in the comfort of their homes.
Hospice and palliative caregivers understand the emotional and physical strains placed onto the family, and are there to help. Continuing along the normalcy of life is essential to coping, and is necessary part of hospice care. Many take respites for a variety of reasons and it is a crucial support for the family of loved ones to cope with the end of life.
Types of Bereavement Support Offered
There is a strong dedication to end-of-life arrangements, not only in an organization, but throughout the hospice and palliative care community. Of patients of hospice care, 70% were seeking in-home bereavement support. From understanding the grief process, to maximizing the management of grief, a hospice will grant insight as well as compassion.
The details of bereavement are often overwhelming to think about after they become necessary. A hospice has been trained to listen to each family and begin the steps towards bereavement planning. Emotional support in bereavement as well as coordinating funerary arrangements is all a part of the hospice bereavement support.
These services are available through most hospice agencies for up to a year after the passing. The support includes:
- Family therapy
- Group counseling
- Emotional management
- Education about bereavement
- Understanding grief
- Laid-to-rest planning
- Funerary planning
The care and loss of a loved one requires the direction and support of a professional trained to understand the process. Many facets of care are necessary for the patient and the family. The dedication of those in hospice profession included 19 million hours of care annually, from 400,000 professionals in the name of supporting others.
A hospice will provide a full care plan for a terminally-ill loved one. From day-to-day care to emotional and medical support, a hospice treats not only the patient, but the whole family as they continue through a difficult transition. Grant yourself and the ones closest to you the respect and dignity to be wholly supported as they are ushered into their final resting.
**All statistics are taken from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization studies.
Updated: March 28, 2014