What is hospice?
In 1967, Dame Cicely Saunders founded Saint Christopher’s Hospice. The now wildly famous establishment became the model for comprehensive patient and family care for end of life. Hospice as we know it in America began shortly after in 1974, built on the best care model contributed to Saunders. Since then, hospice programs have lead the efforts to get families involved in the movement to provide quality end-of-life care for patients. Hospice has come to serve as a more positive and comfortable ending in the last days.
The primary focus of hospice is caring, not curing for a patient who has been given a terminal diagnosis. In most cases, this care is provided in the patient’s home, a freestanding hospice facility, hospital, nursing home, or other long-term care facilities.
Quality, compassionate care involves a team-oriented approach to expert medical care, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support. This care is tailored to each individual patient’s desires and needs and is available to patients of any age, religion, race or illness.
Further support is given to the patient’s loved ones as well. Usually, a family member is the primary caregiver and helps make decisions for the patient with the full resources and support of the hospice team. The core belief is that each of us has the right to spend our last days free of pain, with dignity and that our family members receive the necessary support to help us through our transition.
The hospice team develops a plan that meets each patient’s individual needs in order to control pain and symptoms.
This team usually is made up of:
- The patient
- A family member
- The patient’s personal physician and/or hospice physician or medical director
- Home health aides
- Social workers
- Counselors and spiritual caregivers
- Trained volunteers
- Professionals such as speech, physical, and occupational therapists as needed.
The plan identifies what medical equipment, tests, procedures, medication and treatments necessary to provide quality comfort and care. All medical and support services required, such as nursing, personal care (i.e. dressing and bathing), social services, physician visits, counseling and homemaker services are included in the plan.
Have further questions?
Speak to a River City Hospice team member