Even when a patient expects to hear that his or her illness has become life threatening, it’s still very hard to hear those words as they are spoken aloud. It’s also a very difficult time for family members. Individuals and family members have much information to process, including understanding the prognosis, setting goals for their care, and evaluating the level of medical intervention that they are willing to undergo in order to increase their time left with family. Moreover, it’s mentally and emotionally exhausting to think about things like how much information they should share with others, managing their fears, and setting wishes and priorities. Hospice workers are valuable in helping individuals and families see death as a natural event and help to make it a memorable time.
A hospice plan of care responds to the needs of the ill patient, as well as the needs of the family members. Plans should be carefully and professionally developed as part of the communications between medical providers, the patient, and the family. The plan should be written out and copies given to the patient and pertinent members of the family. The care plan should list each professional’s specific duties, work days and hours, and have contact information for the supervisor in charge.
Whether family members are considering an in-home hospice provider or a residential hospice center, family members should not be afraid to ask for references. It helps to know how long the hospice provider has been serving the community. If it’s been around awhile, it should not be difficult to get references from hospitals or social workers who referred the facility in the past. Other places to check are the local Consumer Bureau, the State Attorney General’s office, and the Better Business Bureau.
Tidewell Hospice offers a team approach that includes the patient’s physician, nurses, counselors, nursing assistance, and volunteers. Tidewell offers individualized support groups for general grief support, spousal loss, and gay and lesbian partner loss. The hospice program specializes in such illnesses as cancer, cardiac disease, end-stage liver disease, end-stage renal disease, and Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Tidewell Hospice also offers inpatient hospice care at Lakewood Ranch Medical Center.
Kindred at Home starts the conversation about hospice care between the patient, the family and a registered nurse. Kindred at Home provides in-home hospice care that bridges relationship between the doctor and the home. Kindred’s clinician’s educate and care for patients with diabetes, COPD, heart failure, Alzheimer’s disease, and other serious illnesses. Most families receive Kindred’s services at no cost using their existing Medicare plans.
Comfort Keepers helps terminally ill patients with bathing, dressing, and toileting in the comfort of their homes. They will also perform light house cleaning, laundry, food preparation and companionship. Comfort Keepers hospice workers help individuals and family members make the most of their time together and will continue to provide care after the loved one’s passing.
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