Living with cancer blog

Hospice care services help patient, family

By Sheryl M. Ness, R.N. December 10, 2011

What's hospice care? Hospice care is intended for people who are nearing the end of life. Hospice care services are provided by a team of health care professionals who create a holistic plan of care that addresses pain and comfort, as well as physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs.

Hospice care is designed to address the needs of the entire family, not only for the patient. The focus of hospice care isn't to cure or treat the underlying disease, but to provide the highest quality of life possible for whatever time remains.

Our previous discussion was with the role of oncology social worker. Your social worker can assist you in finding a hospice care program that's a good fit for you. A few things to consider with choosing hospice:

  • Is the program certified?
  • What services do they offer to the patient (as well as the family)?
  • What's the cost (check to see if your benefits cover hospice care, Medicare and private insurance usually cover hospice care)?
  • What's the process of being accepted into the program?
  • What's the setting (home or facility)?

Talking about hospice care isn't easy. However, it may be best to start this discussion early so that choices and initial decisions can be made before a crisis occurs. The fact is that many people enter hospice only in their last few days instead of their last months. Hospice care is designed to give you the best quality of life during the time when you need it most.

Feel free to share your thoughts and resources with each other on this topic.

Follow me on Twitter @SherylNess1. Join the discussion at #livingwithcancer.

With

Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.

Follow on Twitter: @SherylNess1

Join the discussion at #livingwithcancer.

Dec. 10, 2011