Who Is Involved In Hospice Care? What Do They Do?
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Contrary to general perception, hospice is not a place, but a philosophy of caring for terminally ill patients. The aim of providing quality hospice care is to help such patients manage their pain and spend their remaining days as comfortably as possible.

Hospice care is not just for the elderly – people of all ages can receive hospice care, which includes medical care, as well as psychological, social, spiritual, and bereavement services. For this reason, hospice care involves staff that comprises of professionals other than just doctors and nurses.

Given below is a brief overview of the team involved in providing hospice services.

1. Primary Physician

In most cases, the primary physician is the patient’s family doctor. He/she is responsible for overseeing the patient’s complete plan of care, which includes ordering medications, working with the patient’s cardiologist, oncologist or other specialist, and providing consultation and/or primary care when needed.

2. Hospice Medical Director

He/she is a physician who signs a contract with hospice agencies to oversee medical operations concerning patients, or even handles individual cases at the request of the patient or primary physician.

3. Registered Nurses

Responsible for providing direct patient care and medical support to caregivers, registered nurses are highly trained to provide quality hospice care. They work closely with the patient’s physician to provide pain and symptom management. They maintain constant contact with the patient and caregiver and make scheduled visits to the patient’s place of residence. Additionally, on-call nurses are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for patient care.

4. Hospice Aides

Hospice aides, or certified nursing assistants (CNAs) assist the patients by providing personal and hygienic care such as bathing, dressing, changing linens, oral and nail care, and other services. They may visit the patient 2 to 5 times a week, as needed.

5. Chaplain

They are responsible for discussing and resolving spiritual matters according to the patient’s individual needs and desires. They are available not only to the hospice patients but also their families to tend to their bereavement needs after the completion of the patient’s life.

6. Social Workers

They are available to the patient and family to provide emotional and psychosocial support and counseling. They might also provide assistance with community resources for families by directing them to certain agencies and institutions that would be of benefit to their specific needs.

7. Therapists

Therapists may work under a contract with hospice agencies. They help to relieve pain, bring comfort and provide support by providing Physical, speech, occupational, and other therapies as needed.

8. Volunteers

Volunteers may visit patients in their homes, nursing homes or inpatient centers. They help with tasks such as running errands, preparing meals, providing a helping hand or listening ear to the patients.

If you are looking for a local hospice providers in your community, visit Hospice Basics to find the best hospice care providers closest to you.


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