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The Basics and Q&A

Q: What is palliative care?
A: Palliative care is patient care that optimizes quality of life by anticipating, preventing and treating suffering during advanced illness. Palliative care is provided throughout the continuum of illness and involves addressing physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual needs. Care is designed to facilitate patient autonomy, access to information, goals of care conversations and patient choice. Unlike hospice care, palliative care is provided in conjunction with other medical specialties.

Q: What is hospice care ?
A: Hospice care is considered to be the model for quality, compassionate care for people facing a life-limiting illness or injury. It involves a team-oriented approach to expert medical care, pain management and emotional and spiritual support expressly tailored to the patient’s needs and wishes. Hospice care is most often provided in the last six months of life when a cure is no longer an option and requires a referral from a physician. Holistic in approach with a focus on quality of life, support is also provided to the patient’s loved ones during the course of the hospice care and for 13 months following the death of a loved one.

Q: When is the right time to ask about hospice?
A: Now is the best time to learn more about hospice and ask questions about what to expect from hospice services. Although end-of-life care may be difficult to discuss, it is best for family members to share their wishes long before it becomes a concern. This can greatly reduce stress when the time for hospice is needed and by having these discussions in advance, patients can make an educated decision that includes the advice and input of family members and loved ones.

Q: How are patients referred to hospice?
A: Anyone can refer a patient to hospice. Many times friends or families will call because they need help. The hospice will take the initiative from there and will have the necessary conversations with other family members, the prospective patient and the physician in order to get services started. Click here to locate a hospice serving your area.

Q: What kind of care is provided once a patient is admitted to hospice?
A: A team of Physicians, Nurses, Social Workers, Certified Nursing Assistants, Counselors, Chaplains and specially trained Volunteers work with the patient and their caregiver to coordinate a plan of care. All visits are based on the patient’s and family’s needs as described in the care plan and the condition of the patient during the course of illness. The frequency of Volunteers and spiritual care is often dependent upon the family’s request. We provide comforting and compassionate care that includes:

  • Managing the patient’s pain and symptoms.
  • Assisting the patient with the emotional, psychosocial and spiritual aspects of dying.
  • Providing needed drugs, medical supplies and equipment.
  • Coaching the family on how to care for the patient.
  • Providing bereavement care and counseling to surviving family and friends.

Q: How do you work to keep patients comfortable?
A: Many patients may have pain and other serious symptoms as their illness progresses. The hospice team receives special training to care for all types of physical and emotional symptoms that cause pain, discomfort and distress. Our compassionate professional staff works with the patient’s physician to make sure that medication, therapies and procedures are designed to achieve the goals outlined in the patient’s care plan. The care plan is reviewed frequently to make sure any changes and new goals are in the plan.

Q: Where are hospice services provided?
A: We care for patients wherever they reside — private homes, nursing homes, assisted living facilities or hospitals.

Q: How can hospice help family members?
A: Hospice cares for both patients and family members. One of the wonderful things about hospice care is that it treats the patient and family as a unit. Hospice focus’ on meeting the patient’s goals, while making sure the family members are receiving the support they need — spiritually and psychosocially. Hospice care team members are here to help. They support the patient, the caregiver and the family so no one walks the journey alone.

Q: How are hospice services paid for?
A: Hospice services are covered by most typical methods of payment; including,Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance.

Source : Hospice of the Chesapeake