It takes many different skills to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of hospice and palliative care patients and those who love and care for them. Our hospice and palliative care programs offer you the full resources of our team. All members of your care team meet regularly to talk about your needs, share ideas and make plans that will be discussed with you.
- The Patient: You direct your care. Our care is focused on your particular needs and wishes. We offer a wide range of services designed to enhance your quality of life as well as to control pain and other symptoms of disease. You have a choice about the services and techniques you receive. We expect you and your primary caregiver to take part in the care planning process. You have the right to refuse any treatment or service offered.
- Primary Caregiver: The primary caregiver (a family member, close friend, or hired caregiver) is responsible for seeing that the physical needs of the patient are safely met on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes, the caregiver role is shared among several individuals. The caregiver communicates with the hospice team, letting them know about changes in the patient’s condition. This information is very important because it helps the Hospice team know how we can best meet the patient’s needs.
- Hospice Physician: A hospice physician is responsible for the medical direction of care for patients in our hospice program. This physician is often the one who referred you to hospice care. The hospice physician will serve as a consultant, working closely with your doctor and coordinating the hospice team activities.
- Hospice Nursing Team: Nursing care for hospice patients is provided by Registered Nurses and Licensed Vocational Nurses, includes teaching, pain, and symptom control, emotional support, nutritional counseling, evaluation of disease progression, and any nursing procedure deemed necessary by the physician. The nurse will talk to patients or caregivers by phone, visit regularly to monitor the patient’s condition, and coordinate the team’s work with you.
- Hospice and Palliative Care Social Workers: Social Workers provide counseling and emotional support to patients, caregivers and loved ones in both the hospice and palliative care programs. The Social Worker is an experienced counselor who can help you talk about the changes that are happening. The Social Worker is skilled at helping families communicate with each other. They can also help with practical problems, including assistance with financial and legal concerns and referrals to community resources.
- Hospice Personal Care Provider: Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) are included in your hospice benefit for patients in the hospice program. They are trained to provide personal care to the patient.
- Spiritual Care Coordinators: Spiritual Care Coordinators for patient’s enrolled in the hospice program provide spiritual support and care in keeping with the patient/family cultural and religious background. Your Spiritual Care Coordinator can help you find a clergy member of your faith, or can help you consult with your own clergy if you wish.
Spiritual Care Coordinators can be consulted for palliative care patients.
- Volunteers: Specially trained volunteers may support the patient, provide friendship, run errands, and provide care and are available for hospice and palliative care patients.
- Grief Care Services: A Grief Care Services coordinator supervises a team of staff members and volunteers who support families and caregivers during the grieving process.
Other professionals may be called on from time to time to assist in the care of the hospice patient. The patient’s and family’s need for these services will be regularly reviewed by the Hospice team, and services will be adjusted as necessary. The patient/caregiver will be consulted regarding these changes. These other services may include:
- Homemaker Services: Homemakers can provide light-duty housework in the patient area, when deemed necessary by the Hospice team and patient/patient caregiver.
- Therapy Services: Available services include nutritional counseling, physical therapy, respiratory therapy, occupational therapy, ostomy care and wound care. These services may be provided as determined by the Hospice team and patient/patient caregiver.
- Inpatient Care: Inpatient services are provided at our Hospice Houses. Hospitalization must be coordinated by the Hospice Team prior to admission for symptom management or respite purposes.
- Continuous Care: The Hospice Team will provide crisis management in the home for short periods of time, when necessary.
Other services provided under the hospice benefit and arranged by your hospice team members may include:
- Medical Supplies and Equipment: Approved medical supplies are provided as needed. Durable medical equipment, such as a hospital bed, wheelchair or shower bench, is ordered by the nurse and delivered by our medical equipment company. Our Hospice will also order, provide and arrange for the delivery of disposable medical supplies. Hospice Medicare and Medicaid benefits cover approved medical supplies and equipment. Private insurance companies often vary in what they provide. Our Social Workers assist non-funded patients in acquiring necessary supplies and equipment through community resources.
- Pharmacy Services: The nurse will work with the patient/caregiver to make sure adequate supplies of medications are on hand, and are ordered in a timely manner. Our contracted pharmacies respond to the needs of our patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Delivery is provided when appropriate. The nurse will let you know which medications are covered under your hospice benefits.