At some point in our lives, we will all need to say a final goodbye to someone we love. When a loved one’s doctor has a discussion with a family about starting hospice care, families will be forced to face the fact that the time will come sooner rather than later. This discussion leaves families with many questions and few answers. It’s a stage of life that disrupts family schedules so they can spend time with their loved one before the final passing.
Hospice workers do more than provide pain management and comfort care. They can help family members with emotional struggles like what will happen to their loved one’s body at the time of death. They will also help them as they say goodbye and give the patient permission to let go.
While family caregivers may experience extreme stress, they may be reluctant to accept help from the hospice team during a loved one’s final days. Hospice doesn’t need to take over completely. Experienced hospice professionals know that some family caregivers need to continue providing care as part of their grieving process. Hospice workers are trained on how to share duties and intervene in caregiving without causing greater distress to the family caregiver. Part of hospice and palliative care includes caring for the caregivers, as well as caring for the patient. Regular and open communication helps the hospice workers and families work together during the end-of-life stage.
Agrace Hospice and Palliative Care is a non-profit, community-based health care agency that provides expert and compassionate care to patients and families who are dealing with advanced illnesses. Since 1978, the mission of Agrace has been to partner with patients and families to improve the quality of life throughout serious illness. The tenets of care at Agrace include compassion, integrity, collaboration, excellence, and stewardship. Agrace serves more than 650 patients per day throughout south central Wisconsin, where they also provide grief support groups and other bereavement resources.
HCR ManorCare is the third largest hospice provider in the nation. The organization provides care in 23 states, including Wisconsin. Heartland Hospice is the hospice division of HCR ManorCare that serves the Madison area. Heartland Hospice has around-the-clock staff to respond to families in need, at any time of day or night. They don’t require that a patient has a DNR order on file, nor do they require that they provide services on a 24-hour basis. Heartland Hospice works with families to meet their needs wherever they are at.
The hospice division of Tomah Memorial Hospital is called Hospice Touch and Life Choices Palliative Care. This division operates Serenity House, which is a 10,000 square-foot facility that offers state-of-the-art equipment with rooms to care for up to eight hospice patients. The facility offers hospice care and palliative care in the home or other settings. The program includes education and grief support.
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