Among its major responsibilities, the interdisciplinary hospice team:
•Manages the patient’s pain and symptoms
•Provides needed medications, medical supplies, and equipment related to the hospice diagnosis
•Educates the family on how to care for the patient
•Assists the patient with the emotional, psycho-social, and spiritual aspects of end of life.
•Delivers special services like therapy (speech, physical, and occupational), dietician, nursing, wound care, and many other treatments when needed
•Makes short-term inpatient care available when pain or symptoms become too difficult to manage at home, or the caregiver needs respite time
•Provides bereavement care and counseling to surviving family and friends as requested
In most cases, family members or loved ones are the patient's primary caregivers. Additionally, hospice recognizes that loved ones have their own special needs for support. As a relationship with the hospice begins, hospice staff will want to know about the primary caregiver's priorities. They will also want to know how best to support the patient and family during this time. Support can take many different forms, including visits with the patient and family members; telephone calls to loved ones, including family members who live at a distance, about the patient's condition; and the provision of volunteers to assist with patient and family needs.
Counseling services for the patient and loved ones are an important part of hospice care. After the patient's passing, bereavement support is offered to families for at least one year. These services are also tailored specifically to your level of need and can take a variety of forms, including telephone calls, visits, and written materials about grieving and support groups. Individual counseling may be offered by the hospice or the hospice may make a referral to a community resource.