What is Hospice Care?
Hospice provides medical, emotional and spiritual support to individuals and families who are coping with serious illness. Hospice care focuses on comfort for adults and children with any serious illness, who have weeks or months rather than years to live. Care may be provided at home, in a senior care facility, hospital, or at the Bob Fryer & Family Inpatient Center.
What types of illnesses can hospice care benefit?
Hospice care is beneficial for people of any age with any serious illness. Many people think that hospice care is only for cancer patients. The leading causes of death in our community are lung, heart and kidney disease, Alzheimer’s and other dementia, stroke, neurological diseases, and many other illnesses, as well as natural decline, all of which can be helped by the comfort and support of hospice care.
Who provides hospice care?
Hospice patients are assigned to a team of professionals who are specially trained in hospice and end-of-life care. Part of the team is your own physician who continues to manage your medical care. The Hospice team is made up of:
- Registered nurses (RNs) who provide direct patient care and support to caregivers. RNs are highly trained and work closely with the patient’s physician to help manage pain and other difficult symptoms. Nurses schedule their visits and maintain contact with the patient and the caregiver on a regular basis. A nurse is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to respond to all questions and concerns.
- Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) who assist families by providing personal care under the direction of the Hospice RN. They also maintain the proper course of care that has been outlined for each patient in his or her goals of care.
- Hospice aides who assist with personal care, including bathing, dressing, oral and nail care and homemaker services at home, at the Inpatient Center and at local senior care facilities.
- Social workers who are available to provide emotional support, counseling and assistance with community resources for families. Individual or family meetings can often help in coping with the stress of serious illness and increased care needs.
- Spiritual care staff who are sensitive to the spiritual needs of individuals facing serious illness. They are available to patients, their families and caregivers, and work closely with their clergy or other spiritual support systems in the community.
- Hospice physicians and nurse practitioners who may visit patients and families to help manage symptoms, discuss treatment options and plan medical care.
- Complementary therapists, including our on-staff massage and music therapists, who are available to relieve pain, bring comfort and provide support to patients.
- Volunteers who are available to visit patients at home, in senior care facilities or at the Inpatient Center. Volunteers may also check on deliveries of equipment or medication. Volunteers provide a friendly smile, a listening ear, and a helping hand. They complete an in-depth training program before assisting patients and families.
Should other special services become necessary, Hospice & Community Care staff can coordinate them. These may include dietary counseling, physical therapy or respiratory therapy.
For more information, call Hospice & Community Care at (717) 391-2421 or (844) 422-4031.