Hospice care is for people who can no longer benefit from regular medical treatment and want to live their remaining time in a way that will afford as much comfort, dignity, and privacy and as little pain as possible. For caregivers, hospice can also provide essential respite from the stress and constancy of daily duties, as well as grief counseling, if needed.
What Is Hospice Care?
Hospice services offer physical, emotional, spiritual, and practical comfort and support to patients and families who are facing death -- at home, in the hospital, or other settings.
The goal of hospice is to keep pain and suffering at a minimum, rather than cure an underlying condition or illness. To qualify for care, most hospice services follow the general guideline that a patient must be diagnosed with a medical condition likely to cause death within six months or less. However, hospice care need not be continuous. Patients are free to begin and end it as their condition improves or deteriorates.
The Care We Offer
The specific type of care and service hospice provides differs depending on individual needs and preferences, but it may include the following:
- Medical care involves monitoring the patient and administering medication, controlling pain, and providing other medical support.
- Social services, including counseling and referrals or coordination with other community resources to help the patient and their family.
- Spiritual services in keeping with the patient's religious or spiritual beliefs.
- Help with household chores, meals, and basic personal needs, such as getting out of bed, walking, bathing, and dressing.
- Respite care to provide breaks for the usual caregivers.
- Bereavement support to help survivors cope and grieve after a death.