Hospice Care: Definition, Misunderstanding, and Reality
Since 2001, Dr. Alexander Salerno has led Salerno Medical Associates in East Orange, New Jersey. Dr. Alexander Salerno focuses largely on urban communities and on delivering patient education about both medical and behavioral health issues, including hospice care.
You might have come across the term hospice care a lot in your everyday life, and it’s not surprising, as this term has become a relatively popular one in the medical industry. To start with, hospice care deals with end of life care.
Hospice care is usually offered by a specialized team of healthcare volunteers and experts. This professional team offers comprehensive care in the sense that they provide spiritual, psychological, and medical support. The sole aim of hospice care is to provide dying patients with comfort, peace, dignity, and complete care. Volunteers and healthcare professionals try their level best to ease patients’ pain as well as other symptoms to enable them to remain as comfortable as possible. There are specialized hospice programs designed for the families of the sufferers.
The sole aim or goal of hospice care is to make you comfortable and to improve the quality of your life. Such programs offer services at hospice centers or at patients’ dwellings. Also, hospice care may be available at long-term care facilities, nursing homes, and hospitals depending on the patient’s condition, the availability of caregivers, and the affordability factor.
A common misunderstanding regarding hospice care is that it is the last resort of the dying patient. Many believe that starting hospice is equivalent to giving up on life. There are also many people who have the notion that hospice care refers to a low level of medical care. However, these are myths, not realities. Hospice care is simply the type of specialized care that focuses on improving care as well as quality of life. Hence, instead of less care, it inevitably means greater care!
Often, during the later stages of life when a patient is suffering from critical illness, there are people who feel that they have completely lost control over their lives. Also, they feel completely hopeless, realizing that there is nothing good left to happen to them. The reality is that hospice care can actually make you aware of favorable options, which can help you regain some control over your life. Such specialized care lets you make decisions about important things regarding your well-being.
What it includes
By now, you might be curious about what this service consists of. Well, to answer your inquisitiveness, hospice care basically includes:
• social support along with counseling, which helps the patient as well as the family with much-needed emotional, spiritual, and psychological needs
• support and counseling for loved ones after you say goodbye to them
• access to medical equipment and supplies as needed
• access to members of the hospice care team 24/7
• respite care for the family, caregivers, and those who are regularly in touch with you
• basic medical care with an emphasis on easing pain and symptoms
• volunteer support, which includes running sundry tasks and preparing meals
• support and guidance with the most normal yet difficult and challenging issues of life closure
Hence, do not be misled by the term hospice care, as its aim is to improve your life, regardless of the circumstances.