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A famous saying goes “Everyone wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die.” This brings the idea that many people are scared of death even though it is the final stage of human life and a natural event (Rosenfeld et al, 2004). This is one of the underlying reasons for the idea of hospices. Hospice is a representation of a kindhearted move towards ensuring that care is provided to those who are approaching death. For many people, this period may be associated with pain, long days of loneliness, staying in cold, environment away from family and friends and where love does exist but all this horrifying end-of-life events can totally be change by hospice care through by healing and peaceful transformation. It ensures that the patients last days are fully enjoyed, with support, purpose, grace and dignity.
Rosenfeld et al (2004) affirm that in the beginning, hospice was used to provide shelter and rest for sick and tired travelers on the way. Some other hospice was used to provide specialized care for patients who were on the verge of dying. In the United States of America, hospice has existed since mid 1970s. The philosophy of hospice care mainly focuses on the management of symptoms of patients with terminal illnesses. The idea of hospice does not apply to a particular place but the care provided. In most cases it is caters for people with a life expectancy not more than six months. Its main concern is relief of pain and symptoms (palliative care) as opposed to continuing curative measures.
Hospice care deals with all aspects of the patients’ health entailing: emotional, social, spiritual and physical for all people regardless of their age provided they are in the final phase of their life. In most occasions, hospice provides care in patients’ own homes under familiar environment although some practiced in hospitals, nursing homes or in private facilities. Here the care is family-centered engaging both the patient and the family in decision making. Patients access care on 24 hours basis daily (Schonwetter et al, 2000).
There are many services provided by hospice care services. There is a team of professionals made up of interdisciplinary health care personnel charged with controlling care within the hospice. Nurses, doctors, counselors, social workers, home health aides, therapists, trained volunteers, clergy and other experts work together to discharge care according to their specialized fields to ensure comfort for patients. There is control of symptom control whose main objective is to ensure that patients are comfortable and the same time are allowed to be control of their lives while enjoying it (Schonwetter et al, 2000).. At this point, there is management of side effects to free pain and symptoms as much as possible, yet attentive enough to have fun with people around and make key decisions.
The interdisciplinary team is very important for in the organization and coordination of the hospice services. The team is charged with a fundamental responsibility of supervising the care all day and night long, all through the year. They make sure that there is information sharing among all the involved parties and the services for proper management of the patient. This function entails ensuring that home care agencies, doctors, nurse, inpatient facilities, funeral directors and other professionals carry out their duties together to dispense their duties effectively (Rosenfeld et al 2004). They encourage the patient and the caregivers to feel free and contact their respective hospice team whenever at whichever time in case of nay problem. They ensure that both the patient and the family are not left alone but get support whenever they need.
Spiritual care is also one of the important services provided by the hospice. The spiritual needs basing on specific religious beliefs of individuals are catered for. Some of the needs that are provided including helping one say good-bye, assisting view death positively and realize what it means to them. If someone feels that they should be assisted to carry out some religious rituals or ceremonies they get help to do so. Generally there is help concerning prayer and spirituality.
Many community based health agencies and hospice programs that are independently held offer home hospice services. The staff of home hospice program is normally a doctor, a nurse and other professionals but the key caregiver is the main team member generally a member of the family or a close friend. The primary caregiver is responsible for endless supervision of the patient. Due to their obligation of staying with the patient more frequently, nurses train them to effectively give much of the practical care. More importantly, home hospice calls for someone to always be at home with the patient (Rose et al 2010). This becomes a problem if the patient stays alone or if their partner or offspring are employed on full-time basis but it can be solved by innovative scheduling and proper team work with loved ones and friends. Hospice staff members make frequent visits to the patient’s home to check on both the family and the patient and provide the required services and care.
Rose et al (2010) observe that under this program, care commences after being admitted in to it. To this effect, a member of a particular hospice team makes a visit to the home to learn about the patient’s needs and situation. Other visits are also made frequently for the needs of the patient to be re-evaluated. Additionally, there are on-call nurses to respond to calls all day and night long with a view of handling around-the-clock patient’s crises or needs. The required team member is also send within the visits scheduled to respond to a particular situation. Pharmacy, nursing and doctor services are constantly offered by hospices that are Medicare-certified as a prerequisite.
Other services provided by hospices include inpatient care, bereavement support, respite care, trained volunteer services, occupational, speech and physical therapies, social services and physician services.
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