When to Consider Starting Hospice Care

When to Consider Starting Hospice Care

Courtesy Care Initiatives Hospice, Linn County LIVING WELL Magazine

Hospice care is often not considered until the final few weeks or days of care giving life. There are many advantages that can be gained from initiating hospice care earlier. For example, a patient who enters hospice care earlier has the opportunity to make use of pain and symptom management practices, bereavement counseling, and help with end-of-life planning.

Similarly, a family that chooses hospice care for a loved one is able to share some of the responsibility for day-to-day care to the hospice team instead of doing it all by themselves. This allows a family to focus on enjoying time with their loved one than caring for their loved one.

There is no “typical” patient at the end of life. Each person’s care needs are uniquely tailored. It is common for patients to have concerns of becoming a burden to others, loss of dignity, finding meaning in their lives, and experiencing spiritual matters.  Care Initiatives Hospice recognizes not only the physical component of dying, but offers assistance with psychosocial aspects as well.

Over 700,000 Americans are cared for by hospice annually. However, hospice remains widely misunderstood and under-utilized. A National Hospice Foundation survey shows that 90% of Americans don’t realize that Medicare pays for hospice care, and 75% don’t realize that hospice care can be provided at home. Yet, the results from the same national research show that Americans want the kind of end-of-life care hospice provides.  (in bold?)

The hospice team consists of several members with a common goal: as much quality of life as possible for the hospice patient and their family. The Hospice Team consists of:

Registered Nurse Case Manager: Assesses symptoms and closely works with the patient and family to develop goals to manage symptoms. This team member communicates often with your attending physician and provides information on use of medications. The nurse helps you understand what to expect next and actions that might help along the way. Nurses are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week .

Social Worker: Available to help the patient and family explore “why” – and consider other planning aspects at this time of life. The social worker assists in understanding a variety of normal feelings while defining “family” in any way the patient designates. Family meeting coordination or community resource information is often identified. Resources for living wills or other advanced planning are always available.

Spiritual Care and Bereavement Counselor: Assists as desired by the patient and family with contact and coordination of communication with the patient and family’s personal spiritual care provider. The counselor provides direct support as desired to help find peace in belief systems.  This team member works closely with family to discuss anticipated loss and healthy grieving strategies as desired.

Hospice Aide: Available to provide assistance with bathing, shaving, dressing, hair care, nail hygiene and other activities of living with quality and dignity.

Other team members include a medical director, volunteers and various therapists and counselors as directed and/or desired by the patient and family.

Hospice care is provided wherever the patient calls home: the patient’s home, a family member’s home, a nursing facility, an assisted living facility or a hospital.

Taking just a little time to become acquainted with a Care Initiatives Hospice team member allows you to ask any questions you may have, and to have a resource when needed.

5005 Bowling Street, Suite C

Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

Contact us with your questions or for a brochure: 319-390-4161.

Care Initiatives Hospice provides a physician-directed, nurse coordinated, interdisciplinary team approach to personal care with value-added services. Go to www.CareInitiatives Hospice.org for more information.