Hospice care seeks to improve the quality of life of terminally ill individuals and their families. Hospice focuses on relieving symptoms of illness, as well as pain and suffering, rather than trying to cure the illness. The symptoms addressed by in-home nurses and others practicing hospice care may be physical, emotional, social, and spiritual.
When hospice care is administered at home it allows the patient to live out their life in a familiar and comfortable environment. Most home care and home nursing agencies provide home hospice services. In many cases patients receiving hospice care from in home nurses enjoy a period of time in which they are able to live a relatively normal life. In home nurses and the hospice case manager tailor the services provide to the individual needs of the patient. As the illness progresses there may be an increase in the frequency of visits by the home care staff. Palliative measures, which seek to eliminate pain and suffering, are administered.
The initiation of hospice care is an important decision. When a doctor recommends hospice care it usually means that they believe the patient has less than six months to live. In many cases the palliative measures implemented by hospice nurses cause an improvement in the overall feelings of the patient. This is because treatments that attempt to cure terminally ill patients can be painful and have unpleasant side-effects. By contrast, hospice nurses seek first to make the patient comfortable. The combination of hospice nurses and palliative measures, along with the familiarity and comforts provided by being in the home environment can greatly improve the quality of life for terminally ill patients. In addition, in home hospice nurses provide information and support to the patient’s family and friends. Home nursing hospice care can be a great help when dealing with the stress and sadness associated with terminal illness.
Talk with your doctor and home care agency about hospice services administered by in home nurses. Hospice care is tailored to the individual needs of the patient. In addition to the care of an in home nurse, hospice care usually also involves a team of other caregivers such as social workers, caregivers or home health aides, and spiritual and bereavement counselors. Hospice care provided by in home nurses and other home care professionals is usually covered by Medicare, and in many cases costs less than hospital based treatments for terminal illness.