Comfort is the goal of hospice – Many people think entering hospice is “giving up”, but that’s not true. Hospice is where you go to live comfortably with issues that are no longer in your control. The nurses and staff of hospice are there to assist you and your family in your own home, and are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week if needed.
Daily living – The comfort care nurses (Registered nurses and LPN’s) are trained to provide advice and resources for the whole family. Each city and area has specific options available and the nurses know how to access these resources. Nurses aides for bathing is one example. .
Counseling – Each hospice has trained professional counseling available; speaking to someone trained in assisting with the stresses that come with managing care can be a great asset. Chaplains are also available if requested as is children’s counseling.
Equipment – A hospital bed, wheelchair, or walker is sometimes needed — these are just a few examples of things that are available through hospice.
Medications – In most cases, comfort medications are delivered directly to your door. Pain medications and others provided by hospice are available within hours of being requested. .
Home Visits – A comfort care nurse will set up a schedule to stop by on a regular basis; you will have a number to call day or night to ask for a visit at any time, for any reason. This gives everyone involved peace of mind knowing help is just a phone call away. Other home visits can be counselors, home health aides, chaplain and the physician.
Cost – For those on Medicare, there is no cost. Medicare pays for the service. Check with your private insurance for other coverage. A doctor must sign a form of admission into hospice and release of care from his or her service.
Not-for-profit hospice – Just like it sounds, non-profit hospice organizations rely on private and corporate donations and government assistance. The benefit is they are not driven by profit and loss and do not have the limitations of a for-profit organization.
Hospice Units – If comfort care is no longer possible in the home, for any reason, a care nurse will assist in arranging for a care unit. Rooms in a facility much like a bedroom at home — not the sterile, noisy hospital setting but a comfortable living space with no visiting-hour restrictions. Family and friends may come and go, sleep and visit. Many give access to a kitchen. Pictures can be put up, or a favorite chair brought in. The idea is for the stay to be as comfortable and restful as possible. Many people go to a unit just for a few days. Pain management is one reason. When medications are restructured and comfort is restored, going home is a wonderful event. Transportation to and from these units is provided.
End of life – In facing this moment, and as it approaches, the nurses and staff are there for everyone. Whether at home or in a comfort unit room, every measure is taken to provide comfort and a peaceful transition with respect and dignity.