Following last week’s Facebook conversation and resulting blog post about palliative care, we wanted to go into a little more depth about hospice care–what it is and how it can help the patient facing the end of life.
What is hospice care?
Hospice care is patient-and family-centered care that focuses on relieving symptoms and increasing comfort and quality of life. The goal of hospice is to provide quality and compassionate care for those facing end of life. Hospice care can give you the information and support you need to provide the best care for your loved one.
Is all hospice care the same?
Local hospices can vary significantly from one hospice to another. While Medicare requires certified hospices to provide a basic level of care for patients, each hospice can provide different services and the quality of the care may vary. You might want to meet with hospices to ask questions about services prior to admission. Ask family members, friends, healthcare professionals and your surrounding community in order to find the best hospice for your needs.
Other than medicine, what are some other ways to relieve pain during hospice?
While some patients decide to relieve pain using medicine, others rely on different techniques. Hospice health care professionals can help you find the right technique for you. Techniques include relaxation, imagery, distraction and skin stimulation. These techniques can also be used while taking medicine. More information about these treatments can be found at a local hospice.
After a patient dies, does hospice provide any help or support for the family?
For at least a year following the death of a loved one, hospice will continue to contact caregivers, loved ones and family members. Most hospice organizations offer or sponsor free bereavement groups and support for those experiencing grief resulting from the loss of a family member, loved one or friend.
If you or a loved one need more information about hospice care including how to access it, how to pay for it and what it will mean for your family member, please call LIVESTRONG Foundation’s Cancer Navigation Services at 1-855-220-7777 or go online to request support.