Hospice Care for Non-Cancer Patients
While the primary focus of hospice care is end of life care for those with cancer, hospice is open to anyone in need of comfort and support during the last stages of a terminal or life-limiting illness. In addition to cancer, a wide variety of other terminal illnesses, such as musculoskeletal diseases, can qualify someone for hospice care. Although the diagnosis carries a grim prognosis, hospice care is available to alleviate pain and discomfort and offer much-needed support to both patients and their families.
When beginning to consider hospice care, it can be difficult to know What to Expect. It’s important to note that hospice care will not extend life or cure the disease. While the focus is palliative care and symptom management— offering comfort and support for both patient and family—patients may experience the following:
- Pain management
- Medication to control symptoms
- Counseling for the patient and family
- Spiritual support
- Nursing and home health care
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
Despite the grim prognosis, it’s important to remember that hospice care is about living, not dying. The goal is to maintain quality of life so that patients may continue to enjoy and make meaningful connections with family and friends. A hospice team can help create a more peaceful atmosphere that will allow the patient and family to focus on living and making memories that can last a lifetime.
Finding the right hospice team is vital to making sure that the care and treatment is tailored to the length and severity of the prognosis. An experienced hospice team should consist of the patient’s doctor, nurses, therapists, aides, social workers, spiritual care and volunteers. In addition, depending on the diagnosis, there may be additional members of a multidisciplinary team, such as nutritionists or psychologists.
Once the patient has elected the hospice benefit, the care is comprehensive and typically includes both home visits as well as inpatient care. In the home, nurses will monitor the patient’s condition and provide medication as needed. The social worker and other members of the team can facilitate any emotional, spiritual, and psychological needs that may arise. Inpatient care is usually provided at hospice facilities or nursing homes, and is reserved for more serious cases where additional medical care is necessary.
Navigating the transition from life-limiting illness to hospice and end of life care can be incredibly difficult, so it’s important to find an experienced hospice team that can provide comfort and support to those who need it. With the right team and resources in place, the process of end of life care can be made more manageable and meaningful. Please contact All Care Health Solutions to fulfill any of your home health or hospice needs.