Hospice and Palliative Care

March 16, 2005 at 1:39 pm  •  Posted in Death And Dying by

What Is Hospice?

Hospice is a specialized program that addresses the needs of the catastrophically ill and their loved ones. A team approach is provided in hospice that may involve physicians, nurses, social workers, clergy, home health aids, volunteers, therapists and family caregivers. Hospice workers can help a dying person manage pain, provide medical services and offer family support through every stage of the process, from diagnosis to bereavement.

Hospice services are available in the comfort of your own home, in a hospice facility, or often in settings such as nursing homes and hospitals. Many people who use hospice tell of a wonderfully positive experience with a compassionate staff who focus on caring for the whole person and their families.

Individuals enrolled in hospice have to have a doctor give them a diagnosis of six months or less to live. Many persons in the last stages of dementia-related illnesses, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory and pulmonary illnesses are now enrolled in hospice. Often, health insurance covers hospice services.

What Is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is an approach to health care that improves quality of life for individuals and their loved ones with complications from life-limiting illness. The goal of palliative care is often accomplished by treating the physical and psychological effects of illness, especially pain.

Palliative care treats dying and death as a normal life process and intends to neither hasten nor postpone it. Instead, this type of team care offers a support system to encourage patients to live as actively and comfortably as possible until the end.