The philosophy at Brookdale Hospice is that life is much more than physical health; it also includes the health of the human spirit. When physical health begins to fail, the nurturing of the spirit becomes critical for maintaining the dignity of the individual.
Hospice is a philosophy of care focused on comfort and quality of life at the end of life. It is designed to treat the whole person emotionally, socially, spiritually and physically by providing comfort and support to patients and their families.
Hospice Medical Director
The Hospice Medical Director specializes in palliative care, which seeks to minimize pain while optimizing comfort, as well as management of the illness and related conditions.
Registered Nurse Case Manager
The primary role of the RN Case Manager is to help manage pain and other symptoms and to teach caregivers how to care for their loved one. The nurse also ensures necessary medical supplies are ordered, assists in monitoring medications, and acts as the liaison between the patient, the physician and other healthcare professionals.
The chaplain or spiritual counselor offers spiritual and emotional support for patients and their families. They can also work alongside a patient’s own clergy, pastoral counselor or others for additional support.
The social worker is a counselor to the patient and the family, assisting with financial, insurance and legal issues while arranging volunteer support and other community services.
The hospice aide assists with the patient’s personal care, which may include bathing, hair or skin care, shaving and catheter care.
The Bereavement Coordinator assists families during this emotionally difficult time, as well as provide information on common aspects of grief. Bereavement support for grieving families is available for at least 12 months after the loss of a loved one.
Hospice volunteers are specially trained individuals who support the patient in a variety of ways, such as companionship, running errands, providing transportation and more. Volunteers provide respite to caregivers.
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Routine Home Care
Members from the hospice team make intermittent home visits to ensure the patient’s symptoms are properly managed. The team also educates and communicates with the family with regard to the patient’s needs. This may include supplies, medications (relating to the patient’s terminal prognosis) and medical equipment.
General Inpatient Care
Some patients may have symptoms that cannot be managed at home to maintain pain control. Inpatient care is also provided in a designated center where the interdisciplinary staff can take an aggressive and individualized approach.
Continuous care is provided at home during periods of crisis to help the patient manage pain and acute medical symptoms that are out of control.
Respite care is a supportive service that allows a patient to stay at a care center on a temporary or short-term basis. The stay could be planned or unexpected due to an emergency situation. Respite care is a useful tool for caregivers because it offers them a reprieve from caring for a loved one.
Generally, doctors refer patients to hospice care if they are expected to pass away within six months and do not want to undergo aggressive treatments. Care can always be extended if the patient’s condition remains life-limiting. Historically, hospice care has been provided most often to cancer patients, however patients with any illness, such as heart disease, dementia, COPD or HIV/AIDS, can use hospice care.
Although hospice care may include medical treatment, it does not try to delay the dying process; nor does it try to hasten death. The hospice philosophy simply recognizes that dying is a natural part of life.
It’s a type of care that treats the whole person. Along with managing pain and other physical symptoms, patients receive emotional, spiritual and social support from a team of specially trained professionals and volunteers. On top of this, care is not limited to the patient — family members receive information, resources and emotional support as well.
Although there are some freestanding hospice centers, hospice care is not tied to any one specific location. In fact, most hospice care is provided at home. It can also be provided in skilled nursing centers, independent or assisted living communities or hospitals.
Members of the hospice staff will make regular visits to assess the patient and provide additional care. Hospice staff is on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They can answer your questions and provide support any time of the day or night including when there is a medical emergency.
In most cases, yes. Medicare, Medicaid and most insurance plans will cover these four types of hospice care: Routine home care, general inpatient, continuous home care, and respite care.