The goal of hospice is to prevent suffering and it will do what is required to help someone live comfortably. Because of its interdisciplinary emphasis, Hospice enables a patient and family more of an opportunity to remain in charge of treatment decisions and services.
The Medical Director, along with the patient’s physician, guides the plan of care, supervises the team and the care that is provided. The Hospice nurse makes regular home visits, manages pain and/or other symptoms and teaches the family how best to care for the patient. A hospice nurse is always on call to answer questions or provide nursing care. Hospice aides assist patients with baths and personal care needs, while teaching families appropriate and safe techniques.
The social worker assesses their needs for counseling, social services, and/or financial assistance, and provides information concerning other community resources. The hospice chaplain provides spiritual care, but does not replace the family’s own minister or priest. A bereavement counselor provides support for family members and friends during the illness and is required to do so for 13 months following the patient’s death. Hospice augments the team with a trained volunteer who provides companionship and support. Other services include, but are not limited to, medically necessary equipment such as hospital bed, walker, wheelchair and oxygen. Diapers, pull-ups, catheters, dressings and disposable bed pans are also available. Finally, hospice usually pays for all medications that assist in pain and symptom management regardless of the admitting diagnosis.