Someone moving into hospice care for the first time will likely have all sorts of questions since it can be a confusing, unexpected process for many residents of Dubuque and elsewhere.
Luckily, a big part of the hospice concept is about education, so the staff should have no problem telling anyone about what makes hospice different than traditional care and a beneficial experience in a difficult time.
The team at Above and Beyond Home Health Care and Hospice is a good example of an organization that likes to supply answers to any and all questions and let people know about why hospice can be a good alternative to traditional care for certain people with terminal medical conditions.
We know switching away from traditional care by a doctor to palliative care can be a strange feeling. We also know that talking about anyone’s death, whether it’s anticipated in days, weeks, or months, can make people feel uncomfortable.
Part of the goal of a hospice program is to help clients keep their quality of life as good as possible in their final days.
This can include regular visits and monitoring from nurses, health aides, or other home health care staff. In some cases, it may also include 24-hour care from a caregiver. It can also include coordination with family members, other caregivers, and medical providers.
Some hospice organizations, including Above and Beyond Home Health Care, can offer other services to help clients, including massage therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy.
Clients can also receive other assistance that’s always appreciated, such as help running errands, light housework, or meal prep. Sometimes, a client may just want simple assistance like a reminder to take their medication.
Other times, the hospice staff can be asked other questions, everything from what they think happens after death to how to make sure their family is taken care of. So hospice employees often need to know technical details of their job as well as be willing to have non-judgmental conversations with people who are reflecting on their past, present, and future.
Though there’s plenty of paperwork that’s needed in most communities when someone is considering hospice services, the staff should be able to provide a summary of their experiences for prospective or current clients, including general philosophy, different roles of their staff, and what past patients have experienced.
Local hospice programs can find other opportunities to educate their community members. Other information that people might want to learn include:
- You may be able to keep your provider. Once someone switches to a hospice or palliative program, they may consider switching to a provider who specializes in end-of-life care and moving on from their traditional care doctor. But if a good strong relationship has been established, he or she may be invited to be part of the client’s medical team.
- Hospice works with family. While the client is the person who is receiving hospice care receives the bulk of services, hospice staff is also available to be a resource for family members. Because friends and family can be so important to someone’s health and well-being, the hospice staff encourages them all to spend time together. Hospice staff will be happy to listen and get to know family members, including answering their questions. They can also point them in the right direction for things like local support groups or end-of-life arrangements. The hospice experience could be new for family members, but it’s more familiar to hospice staff.
- You may have more freedom. Someone receiving traditional care may have been given a whole lot of restrictions from their provider to avoid complications or reduce the risk of infection and hopefully improve their health. While someone on hospice still should try to avoid situations where they could get sick, especially during flu and cold season, the goal is no longer “to get better” so they can relax a little. They may be able to start taking health supplements again if they enjoyed these.
World Hospice Care Day
For those wondering about hospice care, there’s other useful information.
Some of it is online: many hospices are part of national or international organizations that focus on best practices and standards of care.
There’s also World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, an annual celebration and commemoration. This year the event is set for Oct. 9. It’s a chance to draw attention to hospice programs around the world and offer information to the public and to providers.
People who work for hospice organizations are welcome to visit the site to learn more about how to spread the word in their local communities about why hospice services should be considered.
One of the focuses this year is equity: how people of different ages, races, cultures, faiths, and lifestyles should all have access to hospice services and should all feel welcome and be treated equally in hospice programs.