Hospice Provides Many Health Care Services

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Hospice Care
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November is National Hospice month. This month, hospice is raising awareness about their services. Hospice care in the home can bring hope and comfort to families in turmoil. This year's theme is Hope, Dignity, Love… It must be hospice. Hospice providers team up this month to bring awareness about home care services for critically ill patients.

In the past, hospice has been closely associated with patients who have cancer, but hospice care now involves much more than just keeping near-death patients comfortable. Hospice is the backbone of community health care. They provide family support, caregiver relief, clinical expertise in dealing with critically ill family members, and community education.

Much progress has been made to bring hospice care to patients when an incurable illness destroys quality of life, or could possibly result in death within six months. Repeated hospitalizations, calls to medical providers, and attempts to manage medications for loved ones are exhausting, and often impossible.

Hospice care is not just for those who have AIDS or cancer, nor are their services reserved for patients who have given up medical treatment. Heart patients can also experience the benefits hospice homecare, through their palliative care programs. Hospice helps a wide range of patients in the community health system.

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Nurses, social workers, physicians and aids involve themselves in assisting families with decisions about end of life care. They listen and they evaluate. Through knowledge and community involvement, hospice workers help patients and families obtain needed equipment and medications to keep loved ones at home. They educate, advocate, coordinate and deliver quality care to patients and their families.

Hospice services include grief support, physical and occupational therapy, environmental support (homemaking), nursing care and physician services. Hospice programs can also provide nursing assistants to help with activities of daily living in the home. Nurses and physicians collaborate to determine when hospitalization might be beneficial from disease complications. Hospice providers deliver spiritual support, maintaining quality of life for patients and families. Last year, community hospice providers brought home and hospital services to 1.4 million patients.

National Hospice and Palliative Care Services can be reached at 1-877-877-658-8896. Medicare covers the cost of hospice services, as well as most private insurances Medicaid.

November is a timely month to give thanks to hospice providers across the nation. If you have ever needed their services, please share your story to help spread the word.

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