In the framework of treating terminal patients and providing palliative care, support and relief to the patients and their relatives, hospice care can come in many guises.
When considering hospice care it is important to remember that, under the dying patient act, its aim is to provide comfort and assistance rather than a cure.
Hospice care services may include:
- Medical Services – Providing diverse services to the patient, including counseling and locating community resources to help the patient and his / her family.
- Doctor Services – The doctor plays an important role in determining the treatment plan, in conjunction with the hospice staff.
- Nursing Care – A registered nurse will establish a treatment plan, in accordance with the physician. Long-term care may include administering medication, monitoring patient status, palliative care and providing other medical support.
- Home Services – Assistants and volunteers can help the patient with their basic personal needs, such as getting out of bed, walking, bathing and dressing. Some of the assistants are specially trained to provide more professional care, under the supervision of a nurse.
- 24-hour care or telephone treatment – Hospice staff is available 24/7. Visits or phone consultations can be made at any time of the day.
- Spiritual Services – Depending on the patient’s religious or spiritual beliefs, hospice care can include support from spiritual counselors for the patient and the family.
- Hospitalization – Sometimes, it may be necessary to transfer the hospice patient to the hospital, or to another treatment facility. This may occur when it becomes too difficult to treat any of the symptoms at home. The hospice can arrange this treatment and then resume hospice care.
- Bereavement Support – The treatment of the family does not end with the death of the patient. The hospice staff works with the family members who have survived and helps them deal with the grieving process. Bereavement support can include counseling, support groups, or medical referrals.