Hospice Patients and Staff
Hospice is for patients whose illness no longer responds to aggressive, cure-oriented treatments. Hospice provides pain and symptom relief, as well as emotional and spiritual support for patients and their families.
Hospice patients typically are in their last six months of life.
Approximately 2/3 of hospice patients are over the age of 65.
While many hospice patients are diagnosed with cancer, hospice services are also available to patients with pulmonary disease, heart disease, neurological disorders, Alzheimer's Disease, and AIDS.
Patients and families who choose hospice are the core of the hospice team and are at the center of all decision making.
A multi-disciplinary team supports the patient and the family. This team consists of physicians, nurses, aides, social workers, spiritual care givers, counselors, therapists and volunteers.
A primary caregiver may be a life partner, relative, or friend. They are trained to work closely with staff to help with feeding, bathing, turning, administering medications, and monitoring changes in a patient's condition.
Hospice staff are specially trained to provide medical assistance and to deal with the loneliness and fears experienced by both the patient and his or her loved ones.
The hospice team works with the patient and his or her family to develop a personalized care plan. Hospice staff respect patient wishes and help foster communication amongst family members.
Hospice staff are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Hospice staff offer bereavement services to families after their loved one has died.
Trained volunteers are an integral part of hospice service. Over 95,000 people volunteer for hospice annually. Volunteers provide over 5 million hours of care and service annually. See Volunteering and Hospice.