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Palliative Care in Relation to Hospice

Seriously ill patients benefit from palliative care combined with hospice care because the process creates a more dignified, comforting level of care. Palliative medicine will manage a patient’s pain while hospice works to provide specialized care to improve the quality of the end of life for both the family and the patient. This type of care is about getting the best care at the end of life.

What is Palliative and Hospice Care?
The thought of death is frightening to most people, who imagine loneliness and pain at the end. Many people imagine being in a cold, emotionless room, away from family and friends during death. However, this type of care is representative of the most compassionate end of life approach possible. The quality of life is increased and the patient’s comfort is the most important aspect of care.

Traditionally, hospice is for those who have a life expectancy of six months or less, involving palliative care, which is pain and symptom relief, rather than ongoing care that will not help. The last days of life should be lived with dignity and purpose, not pain and suffering. Most hospice care is provided in the home, where patients are most comfortable.

Discussing Palliative and Hospice Care
This discussion is one of the hardest discussions a family will face, especially as death remains one of the hardest topics to discuss. Therefore, many people will avoid the topic, refusing to discuss it with family and friends. As a result, hospice and palliative care are not discussed, leaving an ill family member with his or her wishes unknown. Most people prefer to pass away in their own homes, however, the norm remains for people to die in hospitals. The treatment is sometimes ineffective or unwanted, leaving the person feeling alone and cold. Loved ones have limited access to the patient, and will often miss the last moments of life.

Those who choose palliative and hospice care in the home will discuss the process before an illness becomes terminal. While it is difficult to talk about death, it is a part of life and it is necessary to have the discussion. Make sure all family wishes are known and make sure loved ones spend as much time as possible with those they love to create a more loving, secure end for someone who has already lived a full, loving life.

How It Works
Hospice care will focus on every aspect of life: social, physical, spiritual, emotional. All ages may receive hospice care; any person in late life stages can be eligible. Specific services differ in amenities, however, most will include an interdisciplinary team, consisting of a hospice worker, physician, registered nurse, case manager, counselor, ministers, and various trained volunteers.

The team will work from a POC, or plan of care. This plan will highlight necessary care as well as patient wishes. Teams make regular visits to not only help the patient but the family with end of life care. In addition to medical care, the team will also provide therapies, spiritual, emotional, and dietary care.

The Vancouver Home Health Care Agency is happy to help families begin hospice combined with palliative care.
At Vancouver Home Health Care Agency, Caring and Compassion is our business.


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