St. Gabriel's Hospice and Palliative Care

What is Hospice Care?

When a family chooses to include hospice care for a loved one, it is a decision that is emotionally and thoughtfully considered.  Hospice care means making a decision to provide a family member with the best care, possible, if that family member has an official prognosis of a limited number of months to live, due to illness or injury.  Typically, six months to end of life, is the standard time-frame to receive hospice services, though hospice eligibility and services may go beyond six months.  Often, a family member will serve as the primary care-giver, and will make decisions for the terminally-ill patient, when appropriate.  

With that being said, let's delve a bit deeper into what hospice care really is.

What Does Hospice Care Entail?

Hospice care is considered to be the model for the highest-level of care, humanly possible, where patients receive continuous and compassionate intervention, via, a team of experts from various fields of discipline.  The range of expertise is comprehensive and diverse and includes professionals ranging from doctors, pharmacists, clergy, and counselors to dedicated volunteers, and other vital personnel.  This holistic approach, also, includes addressing the affects of the personal loss for family and friends, after a patient's passing.   

Medical intervention and pain management are some of the prime components of hospice care; but emotional and spiritual support are equally valued in this type of team-oriented approach for the patients as well as for family members.  Hospice care is an all-encompassing strategy; and the services for patients cater to any age, religion, race or type of illness or injury.   

It is important to point out that hospice services are thoughtfully tailored to fully meet the specific needs and desires of each and every patient – what is ideal for one patient may not be the best choice for another – diversified care is key.

The focus of hospice treatment is to receive care, not necessarily a cure, for the illness or injury involved.  It is a person's choice to enter or leave hospice care; and if an illness improves and if one desires to seek a curative treatment, that person may exit from hospice care and return, again, if necessary.  Frequently, hospice care is provided in the patient's home, though hospice centers, hospitals, nursing homes, and other long-term care facilities are, commonly, chosen for a patient's care, as well.  

The Mission of Hospice Care

The mission of hospice care revolves around the unquestioned belief that every person has the right to die pain-free, and with dignity.  That dignity focuses on managing all aspects of a patient's needs which can be wrapped up in four simple words:  care, comfort, compassion, and communication.

***  Care is provided by a team of medical professionals as well as care-takers within the family
***  Comfort is offered, at all times, to help keep each patient as pain-free as possible
***  Compassion is given on a continuous basis to enhance the patient's emotional well-being
***  Communication is on-going between the team, the patients, and family members

The goal of all the professionals involved is to, collectively, enable patients to live as fully and qualitatively as possible and allow their families to be an integral and supportive component of patient care.   

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