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What services does hospice provide at home?

Hospice care is often confused with a place. Hospice care is not a physical entity, it is actually a type of medical care that focuses on the comfort of the individual with a terminal disease. 

Not only is it there to help patients have good days in their life but also it helps their families who are trying to control the illness of their loved ones. Even though there are certain inpatient facilities working round the clock, hospice care can be provided in one's own home as well. 

It all depends on the comfort of the patient and hospice care providers are bound to help wherever the patient pleases.

The Hospice Team and Services provided by Hospice

Before we see what services hospice provides to the patient and family let us see what a hospice team is and what their services are. Good end of life care all lies in the hands of a good hospice care team. 

The hospice team is there to provide warmth and care to the patient and help caregivers and family members with the whole process of having to leave their loved ones. 

This team comprises psychosocial, highly medically trained, and spiritual professionals.

They all work together to help meet their one objective which is to provide care and comfort to the patient and their loved ones.

Primary Physician for Hospice Care

A primary physician is there to check up on the patient’s current state. The primary physician provides the services of referring to a hospice program, and can even stay with you to help provide care to the patient at home.

Medical Director for Hospice Care

The patient’s plan of care is a formulation of the medical director. Then the medical director makes sure that the plan is being followed and everything is going according to it, and also keeps in touch with the physician to see what adaptations would be good for the patient’s hospice care. 

Nurse Case Manager

The registered nurse case manager makes routine visits usually 2 to 3 times a week. The responsibilities are to check up on the patient and their family and see whether their requirements are taken into account and to see if the care is not compromised by any means.

Social Worker

Social worker is there for the fulfillment of the psychosocial needs of the patient. A social worker meets with the patient's family, family caregivers, and the patient itself to provide emotional and moral support. A social worker also helps with other chores like paperwork, financial work, and other related duties in hospice care. 

Bereavement Counselor 

A bereavement counselor helps terminally ill patients to understand the grief that is going to strike them in a healthy way. They are also there to help the patient’s family go through the pain of losing a loved one.

The bereavement counselor services usually last as long as the hospice care lasts and according to Medicare’s regulations, these services stay during hospice care and go on to up to 13 months after the patient’s death.

Home Health Aide 

Home health aide usually helps with the household chores and tasks. They will care for the patient in hospice care and also help the family caregivers on how to better themselves in the caring process of their loved ones. In certain areas hiring one is pretty expensive. Therefore you need to understand home health aide costs.

Volunteer for Hospice Care

Volunteers will help in daily household tasks like meal preparations, companionship, errands, and more. They will assist the patient and caregiver with the daily routine tasks to relieve some of the stress from their heads.

Caregiver in a Hospice Care

A caregiver is the most important part of a hospice care team. A caregiver is the closest to the patient and it stays with the loved one in every stage of hospice care. The crucial part of a hospice care service is performed by the caregiver. 

What is Hospice comfort care at home?

All the tasks that a hospice team performs narrow down to the main objective. That is the care of the terminally ill patient with a pain free and comfortable process. It is to help patients live the last days of their lives as rich and full of happiness as they can. And that is what is the main purpose of hospice care. 

Pain and Symptom Management

A major part of treatment services is pain and symptoms management. The hospice care team will check up on your loved one on a daily basis to monitor the pain and symptoms in order to formulate a care plan. That care plan will be according to the patient’s needs that ensure comfort and good care at the same time.

Therapy Sessions 

There are various therapy sessions that help relieve the stress of a terminal illness. Like visits to pet therapy, art therapy sessions, and many more to divert the mind from the tiresome illness for some time and let the mind go at comfort and peace. 

Psychosocial Counseling

With the diagnosis of a terminal illness, depression, anxiety, and other things start taking a toll on a patient’s mind. To help minimize that emotional stress, there are professional psychosocial counselors that give proper counseling to patients and their loved ones about the end of life process. 

Spiritual and Emotional Counseling

As people reach the end of their life, they tend to feel emotions of pain, regret, hatred, and anger. In that phase, they are quite sensitive and they tend to make amends with the broken relationships. Or they want to spend more time with their friends and family.

With all such situations emotional and spiritual counselors help patients feel at peace and leave behind the burden their heart and soul have been feeling. They help patients prepare for death in a healthier manner. 

Assistance with daily activities

Other daily life activities like meal preparations, bathing, toileting, getting dressed and all other stuff is all a part of what a hospice team does. Trained aides and nurses are there to provide assistance with all the daily household chores to ensure comfort. Daily activities are divided into ADLS and IADLS.

Nutritional Care

As the illness starts taking the best of you and the health starts to deteriorate. Patients often find it hard to digest calories that they were once able to. In these conditions, the hospice team formulates a dietary plan that best suits the patient and his situation. 

They also keep a check on the intake of their diet to see if there is a change or modification required in the diet plan of the patient. Moreover, they teach the caregivers how to keep track of the diet and little signs in their health that might mean something.

Hospice Treatment and who else provides it

For treatment of your loved one, there is a direct care staff. Other than that, community based hospice agencies, private duty nurses, volunteers, medical professionals who work in hospitals where there is a hospice unit, or professional hospice patients who are paid to care for others with a terminal disease. All these are contributing to an ill patient’s end of life care.

Is Hospice covered under Medicare?

Hospice care can be provided in the home if it is medically appropriate. Many insurance companies and hospice agencies provide care and services for patients receiving hospice services. However, they require the terminally ill person to start receiving hospice care at least 30 days before they will pay for home-based services. 

Moreover, Medicare usually provides full coverage of all the hospice services if the person falls under the eligibility criteria for hospice care services. Other than that, some employers also offer their employees "benefit days" (essentially, one day of paid time off each month) which can be used to pay for home hospice services.

Effectiveness of hospice care services at home

Home based care is more effective at pain management and symptom management than traditional inpatient hospice care. Many patients are emotionally attached to the place they spent their entire lives in and so they report that they prefer to die at home.

Risks of hospice care services at home 

Home hospice care is not always a viable option for patients. For example, if the patient requires skilled nursing services in order to receive intravenous medications or to manage feeding tubes, it may not be possible for them to receive these treatments in their home. 

In addition, some people who are receiving hospice care at home have trouble receiving care from hospice staff for more than a short period of time.

Hospice care is provided through an interdisciplinary team consisting of doctors, nurses, social workers, clergy members, and other health professionals who work together to provide comfort and supportive medical care. In some cases, the trained hospice team works better in the inpatient hospice facilities than at home.

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