November is Hospice Awareness month. 

Let’s take a moment to learn some of the benefits of hospice.

Each year thousands of people are diagnosed with terminal illness (life expectancy of six months or less) and end up dying without utilizing one of life’s best kept secrets. 

To better understand hospice, let me share what hospice encompasses.

Terminally ill patients, their families and friends are faced with a situation that can be foreign, unfamiliar and often times terrifying. Hospice focuses on the quality of the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of the illness and effects rather than longevity.

The hospice team includes a doctor, social worker, spiritual and bereavement counselors, nurse, pharmacist, home caregiver and trained volunteers. Their job is to provide the following services that are critical during this period of life.

Routine home care: Routine home care is the basic level of hospice care provided in your home, assisted living facility, or nursing home. This level of care offers a team approach by hospice staff and your physician to provide comfort at the end of life. 

This hospice level of care includes medical social services, spiritual support, volunteer visits, bereavement counseling, medication, equipment, and all supplies related to your loved one’s hospice diagnosis.

Continuous home care:  Continuous home care is when a nurse stays in your home for an extended period of time, if the patient is experiencing a medical crisis and severe symptoms such as unrelieved pain. 

General inpatient care: When severe pain and symptoms require a higher level of care, general inpatient care may be needed with a short stay in an inpatient hospice or hospital facility. After this treatment, your loved one can return home to their family and familiar surroundings, if possible, and resume routine hospice care at home.

Respite care: Respite care is provided as an occasional benefit that allows the caregiver a short-term break from the challenges of assisting someone with a terminal illness. This service must be provided at a Medicare-certified inpatient hospice facility, hospital, or skilled nursing facility that can provide around-the–clock nursing care.

To learn more, call 615-771-8979.



Fuller is a consultant for Guardian Hospice.

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