What Services Does Hospice Provide?

Hospices offer end-of-life care for patients suffering from terminal disease or advanced age. Providing patient and family support, hospices look after individuals in their home or in a hospice facility, where they receive care from nurses, staff and volunteers.

General Services

  • Hospice      provides general services that include medical care, therapy and daily      task assistance. Nurses give direct medical care to all hospice patients      and act as liaisons between patients and their primary physicians.      Psychologists and other trained staff assist with speech, occupational or      other forms of therapy for the patients. Individuals also may receive      daily task assistance from volunteers and staff, including bathing,      dressing and eating.

In-home Care

  • Some      patients reaching the end of their life choose to stay at home rather than      enter a facility or hospital, and enlist the assistance of a hospice nurse      to provide care as needed. While nurses may follow a set visitation      schedule, they are available on a 24-hour basis in case of emergency or      other need. If a patient’s situation worsens or the family is unable to      provide adequate support, hospice offers temporary care and patient      housing within a hospice facility.

Facility Care

  • Nurses      in hospice facilities care directly for each patient on a 24-hour basis.      They monitor vital signs, provide medications and alert family members to      changes in care as well as the patient’s condition and recommended      treatment. They also act as a liaison between the patient’s primary      physician and the family. Physicians visit hospice facilities as needed or      on a schedule. Volunteers assist the hospice nurses in providing company      for the patients, assisting with home care or providing professional      services as needed.

Family and Loved Ones Support

  • Not      only does hospice provide support service for the terminally ill or others      reaching the end of their life, but it also supports and cares for family      and friends. For example, hospice offers bereavement and grief counseling      for those affected by the loss of a loved one. This includes psychologist      or volunteer meetings, in-home checkups on a grieving individual, or      occasional phone calls or emails to ensure the individual copes with the      loss in a healthy manner. In some cases, social workers evaluate a      patient’s case to determine the best living scenario depending on family      dynamics or financial situation.