Hospice care does not just focus on patients who are ill and near end-of-life. These services also provide compassion and support to their families. When a loved one is diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, it can be difficult to talk about end-of-life choices. Hospice family care services are designed to make this process easier by providing family members with knowledge and guidance about end-of-life care. The support that these certified professionals lend can provide great peace of mind while also making the transition to hospice easier on both patients and their families.
Comprehensive Care for Patients and Families
Families receiving a diagnosis of a life-limiting illness can affect everyone involved. Although you may not be the ill person, you are an important family member who will likely play a vital role in the patient’s care team. Throughout the duration of the illness, and following the death, you will need support and care from professionals who are familiar with the process. Hospice care is made up of a dedicated team of hospice and palliative care providers who not only focus on the patient but also their loving families.
Hospice care differs significantly from standard care provided at hospitals and other medical facilities. Through hospice services, providers take on a comprehensive approach to ensure that both the patient’s and their family’s needs are met. This is often achieved with a coordinated care approach. Depending on the diagnosis, professionals may be introduced to the patient’s care team, such as social workers, CNAs, RNs, chaplains and hospice volunteers. As patients approach the final season of life, having a supportive hospice and palliative care team is invaluable.
The Role of Family Members in Hospice Care
Family members should never sit on the sidelines when it comes to hospice care. In fact, they should play a vital role in the care and wellbeing of their loved one. Family members can often tell if their loved one is in pain or uncomfortable just by the tone of their voice, their facial or body expressions, or by simple verbal cues. Hospice care providers can then step in to provide any necessary medical care to diminish the patient’s pain with great precision.
Hospice teams have vast experience dealing with all types of families with loved ones experiencing the end-of-life process. Hospice providers understand the importance of providing patients with a high standard of care and attentiveness. This is not only paramount for the happiness and comfort of the patient, but also for the peace of mind of family members. Families are able to enjoy their final days with their loved ones when they know the patient’s medical needs are being met. Patients can also feel good knowing that their families are being given extra support.
Professionals that Provide Hospice Family Care
There are many people involved in the average hospice care team. Social workers can help families prepare for possible life changes that may occur following the death of their loved one. In addition to providing valuable knowledge and guidance, social workers can deliver community resources that help families through the process. Hospice can also connect families with spiritual leaders. These professionals can facilitate conversations between patients and their families that help prepare for death and future memorial services. Spiritual leaders can also help families cope with any spiritual concerns or questions they may have about the dying process.
Other important members of the hospice care team include bereavement coordinators, therapists and other support providers. These professionals can help families prepare for and deal with feelings of great loss before and after the death of their loved one. In some cases, hospice volunteers will play a part in family care. Volunteers are able to offer their time, compassion, companionship and hospitality to grieving families. Hospice care does not stop after the death occurs. Hospice teams often reach out to families with information and resources a year or more following the death.
According to Medicare data, Hillcrest Hospice is the only hospice providing Continuous Care for hospice patients in Nebraska. It is one of four levels of hospice care covered by the Medicare and Medicaid Hospice Benefits. This 24-hour, around-the-clock nursing level of care is provided in the home for brief periods of time when the patient is experiencing any symptom. It is designed to honor the person’s wish to remain at home by providing the care needed to control their symptoms and alleviate the crisis. Home is defined by the person, and continuous care can be provided at home, an assisted living or a nursing home – wherever the patient calls home.
Learn More About Hospice and Palliative Care
There are many patients that pass away who receive care inconsistent with their final wishes. To help ensure that an individual’s needs are met, end-of-life services are available. Hospice offers patients and their families the opportunity to spend their final days together in a compassionate environment that aims to make the patient as comfortable as possible. Hospice care services also help family members become better equipped to navigate end-of-life care and the grieving process.
Hillcrest Hospice is available to patients over the age of 19 in Omaha and surrounding areas, including Cass, Dodge, Douglas, Otoe, Sarpy, Saunders, Washington counties in Nebraska and Harrison, Pottawattamie and Mills counties in Iowa.