What to Expect – Hospice Care

Hospice care is about living. Living in comfort, free from pain. Living with dignity, making personal decisions for yourself. Living with the peace of mind that your family will have the support they need during your care and after you are gone. Our team of hospice care specialists will help you live your life to the fullest and experience the best possible quality of life in your final months.

When is it the right time for hospice?

It is important to understand that at a certain point in your medical care, doing "everything possible" may no longer be the right choice for you. Sometimes the side effects of a treatment outweigh the benefits and don’t meaningfully prolong your life. Many people wait to enter hospice care until the final weeks or days of their life; in doing so, they often miss out on months of living a higher quality of life where comfort and support are constantly given.

Where can I receive hospice care?

Hospice care allows you to receive your care in your own home, if you desire and if it is medically possible. In the home setting, you are given education and tools so you and your family can handle day-to-day care, supported by our hospice nurses, who are on call 24 hours a day, and other members of our hospice team, who visit throughout the week. When home care is not possible, we will work with you to determine other options, like using one of our skilled nursing facilities or one of our hospitals or inpatient hospice centers. This decision depends on where you live and what you and your family desire. Your doctor will help you determine what’s available in your community.

Open communication during hospice care

When you or a loved one goes into hospice care, you or your designated caregiver will sit down with a physician or nurse for a consultation and work together to establish a care plan based on your needs and preferences. During this meeting, you should be given an in-depth explanation of hospice care and services. It’s important that you and your family or loved ones understand your disease, its progression, your treatment and your personal goals. During this meeting, you might be asked to review advance directives so that your wishes are clearly outlined for your family and your hospice care team. We also work with you to create a plan of care to manage symptoms and minimize pain and discomfort. You, your family and loved ones are always informed of your health status during hospice care to allow time for goodbyes and a celebration of life, when appropriate. Additionally, family members are offered bereavement and grief services for up to 13 months after the death of a loved one.

Pain management and comfort

With hospice care, your team of care givers will come together with the primary goal of managing your pain and keeping you comfortable in the final stages of your life. This is primarily done through medications that relieve your symptoms. Your plan can also include individualized requests such as an environment that allows you to rest and relax. All of these decisions are guided by the preferences expressed by you or your caregiver.

Spiritual and emotional support

Whether you desire a simple prayer or seek counsel and comfort from a chaplain, we provide spiritual care to support your and family’s emotional needs. Social workers will help you with questions and end-of-life planning.

Hospice care team

Hospice care is a team approach, led by doctors and nurses with special end-of-life training. Other team members may include certified nursing aides, pharmacists, chaplains, social workers, trained volunteers and grief counselors who work together to make sure your spiritual, emotional and other needs are met. Family, friends, loved ones and caregivers are vital team members.

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