Hospice endeavors to make the transition from life to death as comfortable and easy as possible. Individual care plans are developed to ease both physical and emotional pain and to meet spiritual needs if desired. This can help the patient and family “put their lives in order” and make the last stage of life very meaningful and intimate.
This type of care enables families to navigate the end of life together, in the setting that is most comfortable for them. In most cases, the patient remains at home, close to family and friends while under professional medical supervision. An interdisciplinary care team (IDT) is assigned to each hospice patient, which may include a physician, nurses, a pharmacist, a social worker, a bereavement counselor, a chaplain, massage, art and music therapists, and volunteers. However, the most important members of the IDT are the patient and their family. The patient has the final say in the care they receive and their wishes are always respected. Each team member is entirely focused on the person, not their illness. Their goal is making sure that all physical, emotional and spiritual needs are met.
Addressing pain and other symptoms in the early stages, rather than waiting until they become severe, is a priority. Therefore, it is crucial to begin hospice care as soon as one is ready and meets the eligibility requirements. Hospice care teams always work to manage the patient’s pain as expediently and efficiently as possible.
In addition to determining the appropriate medications for pain and other symptoms, members of the care team also get creative when identifying the best ways to administer the treatments. Finding new therapies, new uses for conventional medications and new techniques for improving comfort care is an ongoing goal for these medical professionals, therapists and volunteers.
Whether a patient is receiving care at home, at an inpatient hospice house or in another health care facility, hospice workers ensure that their environment is accessible, meets their needs and adds to their quality of life.
The services New Hope provides include but are not limited to:
- Managing the patient’s pain and other symptoms
- Assists the patient and family members with the emotional, psychosocial, and spiritual aspects of dying
- Provides medications and medical supplies and equipment
- Instructs the family on how to care for their loved one
- Provides grief support and counseling
- Makes short-term inpatient care available if pain or other symptoms become too difficult to manage