Hospice provides what the majority of Americans say they want at the end of life — the chance to spend their time at home, with support for them and their family members.
Hospice care focuses on supporting patients and their loved ones so they can make the most of the time they have together. Accepting hospice is not giving up on life — it is taking a stand for life, here and now.
Hospice isn't a specific place; rather, it is a type of care that medical professionals deliver primarily in the patient's home. The goal of hospice is to improve quality of life by providing comfort and symptom management, including pain control.
Who Is Eligible?
Hospice offers support and care for patients with a life-limiting condition and life expectancy of six months or less, as determined by a doctor. Hospice patients are no longer seeking treatment to cure their illness; however, they are still receiving palliative care. This is treatment to control symptoms, including pain.
What Makes Hospice Care Special?
Hospice addresses the whole range of physical and emotional needs of the patient and the patient's loved ones. A team of doctors, nurses, aides, social workers, chaplains, and, when needed, physical, occupational and speech therapists deliver hospice care. Hospice also provides grief support for an entire year for surviving family and friends.
At Lake Regional Hospice, all nurses either have earned or are working toward earning certification from the Hospice & Palliative Credentialing Center as a certified hospice and palliative nurse.
When Is the Right Time to Enroll?
Learning about and discussing hospice is appropriate at any time during a life-limiting illness. Too often, referrals for hospice are not made until the patient has uncontrolled symptoms or is near death. Although hospice will provide care at these times, patients and families benefit more when hospice services begin earlier.
Enrolling in hospice does not mean giving up hope or all treatment. Hopes may shift and change, and the hospice team will be there to support patients and families with these changes while managing their symptoms. Studies have shown that people have improved quality of life and actually live longer in hospice care because many symptoms are better controlled. Also symptoms that might have needed a hospitalization or an emergency room visit can be managed in the patient's home by the experienced hospice team members.
Want to learn more? Read the story of a Lake Regional Hospice patient here.
Grief Support Group
Lake Regional hosts a monthly support group for people dealing with grief from various losses, including death, divorce, illness and other difficult life events. The sessions are designed to help people move through their grief, with education, support and companionship. See upcoming meetings.
Be a Volunteer
The goal of hospice is to provide the highest quality of life possible while managing symptoms. Volunteers help patients by assisting with a variety of tasks, such as providing companionship, running errands, assisting with light housework and meals, and providing respite for caregivers.
Hospice volunteers receive the same orientation as other hospital volunteers, plus a separate hospice volunteer orientation. This second orientation provides training in understanding grief and bereavement, the dying process, communication techniques, hospice regulations and other hospice-specific topics.
Once actively serving, hospice volunteers are a part of the care team, consulting with the nurses, social worker, chaplain and therapists. Volunteers are reimbursed for mileage.
Lake Regional Hospice is licensed and certified by Medicare/Medicaid to provide care for qualifying hospice patients in Camden, Miller and parts of Morgan counties. It also is accredited by The Joint Commission. If you have concerns that cannot be resolved by the Hospice manager, you may contact The Joint Commission's Office of Quality Monitoring by phone at 630.792.5000 or 800.994.6610, or by email at email@example.com.