Through my experience working with patients as a hospice specialist, I’ve noticed it’s not uncommon for some patients to feel uncomfortable turning to in-home hospice care, especially at first. Primarily, what they tell me is that they don’t like the idea of having a lot of people in their homes. The thought of having medical staff in their house all the time seems intrusive, and that’s certainly understandable.

However, hospice care is never a one-size-fits-all situation. Just as every patient and every family is different, there are many options available that allow you to customize care for the patient’s medical needs and preferences.

Image of a hospice nurse with a senior female patient in her home

It’s important to emphasize that the whole point of hospice care is to provide as much comfort as possible to patients and their families, including emotional support in addition to treating physical pain. An important part of what we do is making sure necessary tasks are completed, such as helping families organize personal affairs, all with the goal of minimizing stress.

This is why we provide as much or as little care as the patient and family desires. If that means customizing a patient’s care plan so that a nurse aide comes by every day, then we will gladly accommodate that wish. At the same time, if the patient would prefer to have as few aide visits as possible, we can honor those wishes as well, and only send someone when it’s medically necessary.

We can adjust the care plan as needed, adding services to cover each person’s wishes. For example, maybe they realize they don’t need an aide visit every day, so we can reduce those visits, depending on the circumstances. We do assessments on an ongoing, case-by-case basis to determine new needs that may arise, and we can increase the number of visits by medical staff if needed.

We can also customize your hospice care by providing all necessary equipment and medications. For example, if a hospital bed is needed, we can bring it to your home. Or, we can provide condition-specific supplies, such as if a person has COPD and needs a special inhaler. Our staff is able to administer all the medications necessary to reduce pain and discomfort, so there’s no need for the family to worry about getting prescriptions filled.

It can be a sad and stressful time for the patient and the family when a terminal illness affects your lives. The purpose of hospice is to remove as much of the pain, discomfort and stress as possible and focus on quality of life. Providing options that allow for the customization of hospice care allows families to be connected to the patient and to each other so they’re better able to give each other the emotional support they need.

If you’re interested in learning more about hospice care, call 1.866.KINDRED (1.866546.3733) to speak with a Registered Nurse 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or find a location near you.

 

This blog was initially published by Metro Health, Inc., a geriatric health practice in central Florida.