What to Expect From Hospice Care

Posted by on Apr 9th, 2019 and filed under Grief support, Hospice facility, Hospice service. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

A number of illnesses or health conditions may be considered “terminal” at some point for a patient, meaning that the patient is certain to succumb within an estimated time frame. This means that recovery is impossible or at least extremely unlikely, and when this is the case, hospice care may be provided by a hospital. It should be noted that hospice care may be provided not only in a hospital care, but also in the patient’s own private residence, if that arrangement is both possible and preferred. Related to hospice care may be end of life care for a patient in his or her final days or hours, and grief support groups and counseling may be provided for family members during and right after this time. Hospice services may be called upon for a patient who is in their own residence, and hospice care may be found at a hospital. What might this entail?

Hospice Care Today

The general concept of hospice care dates back to the Middle Ages in Europe, but of course this practice has changed over time, and modern hospice care may involve any number of services. A terminal patient in a hospital may have their emotional or spiritual needs satisfied in their final days or hours, for example, so that they may pass on in a better state of mind. A religious figure may be requested and brought to the patient for counseling and comfort, such as a minister, rabbi, or other figure for any faith system. Modern religions typically have writings and ideas centered around a person’s passing, from Christianity to Judaism and Islam and more, and a patient of any faith may be comforted by such spiritual guidance. This may certainly be an option for a terminal patient at their home, too, and they may ask for a priest, rabbi, or imam from their house of worship to visit them. The provider of such spiritual guidance may be someone whom the patient personally knows from their house of worship, which may be another source of comfort. It should be noted that not all doctors consider it their responsibility to provide spiritual care or guidance for their patients, so the patient or family members may ask a more qualified party to handle this duty instead.

Hospice care may also involve emotional support for both the patient and their family, as one or both parties is likely to be emotionally distressed during time. Trained and experiences counselors and therapists will be ready to help, and for the patient, the case may vary from being emotionally prepared to pass on all the way to sharing their family’s distress. Should the patient be unable to come to terms with what is happening, they or their family may ask for emotional guidance counselors or therapists during the patient’s final days or hours to help them reconcile themselves with their terminal condition. The family members certainly would not want their loved one to be distressed during their last moments, so a therapist can help out.

Grief counseling is another service offered by hospice in general, this time for the family members themselves. The five well-known stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, though not always in that order. Some family members may be emotionally solid and able to handle themselves, but many may need grief counseling. There is no stigma or shame in that; rather, honesty about one’s own emotional needs and state is essential for coming to terms with the loved one’s passing. A grief counselor might be consulted more than once, and family members who wish may visit this counselor regularly until they feel that they have settled their emotional difficulties.

A related field is palliative treatment or care, which is more on the medical side. A terminal patient may be in pain or have difficulty with movement or even speech, so palliative care will provide whatever is needed for the patient’s comfort and convenience during this time. This may include pain relievers, for example, or assistance with communication. Some patients may be unable to speak or even write something down, so palliative care personnel may use other means for the patient to communicate with others.

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