There are many things about hospice care that set it apart from other types of health care. All services are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year when the hospice benefit is chosen. Those services include:
- All medicines, medical equipment, and supplies related to the hospice diagnosis
- Medication management to control pain and symptoms
- Physician services to manage medications
- Nursing and home health aide visits to provide direct care
- Social work, counseling, and chaplain services to provide support
- Volunteer services to provide companionship, meals, and support
- Bereavement services for a minimum of 13 months following a loss
In most cases, an interdisciplinary health care team manages hospice care. This means that many interacting disciplines work together to care for the patient. Doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors, home health aides, clergy, therapists, and trained volunteers care for you and offer support bases to you and your family on their special areas of expertise. Together, they provide complete palliative (comfort) care aimed at relieving symptoms and giving social, emotional, and spiritual support.
Pain Management & Symptom Control
The spirit of Caring Hands Hospice is to encourage quality of life for patients and families, because of this abiding philosophy, pain and symptom control lie at the very heart of the Hospice program of care. Medical and pharmacological therapies control a range of debilities that, if untreated, diminish a patient’s strength, will, and even human dignity.
Our professional expertise and an individualized care plan make possible a control of pain rarely achieved in other health care settings. Nowhere is this more evident than in the work of the hospice physician, nurse, and pharmacist. The physician, nurse, and pharmacist are important team members in evaluating pain and treating it pharmacologically. Social workers, clergy, nurses, and professional and lay volunteers work with psychological and spiritual pain. As a team, they review the patient’s status daily. In addition, consultants in several fields of health care compliment the efforts of the medical and nursing staffs.
In the Hospice program, the family’s physician acts as the primary physician. Caring Hands Hospice has a physician that acts as a Medical Director to review each Hospice patient’s case and confers with the family’s physician.
Medications are administered on a regular schedule, to eliminate not only pain, but also the fear of pain. Ease of administering is a key consideration also. Patients are spared injections whenever possible to make their lives more comfortable. Over 90 percent of the medications at Caring Hands Hospice are taken orally. Because of this, it is often possible for patients to be cared for at home.
The goal of pain and symptom control is to help you to achieve comfort while allowing you to stay in control of your life. This means that side effects are managed to make sure that you are as free of pain and symptoms as possible, yet still alert enough to make important decisions.
Hospice Service Area
Caring Hands Hospice serves cities and towns in the following counties:
For more information on our service area please contact us.
Be A Hospice Volunteer: Make A Difference
Many people imagine themselves becoming hospice volunteers, making a difference for people at the end of their life journey. Too many never make the phone call that could change the lives because they’re not sure what will be expected of them, and they are not sure if they have what it takes.
Volunteers fill the gap between loved ones and professional caregivers. Volunteers will be there even when friends and family find it hard to do so. Volunteers don’t have the emotional attachment family does. They are trained to meet the needs of patients and families. They visit on a schedule based on what the patients and/or families needs are, yet are open to change as dictated by the patient’s health and interests. They are unpaid, yet priceless.
What does it take to be a hospice volunteer?
Hospice volunteers need to know that hospice work takes its toll. You become friends with people who are going to die, and with the people who love them. You must be able to sit quietly, take a back to the events taking place around you, be a calming presence when that is called for. You need to be a guest, an observer, a facilitator.
As a Hospice Volunteer You Need To:
- Commit the time to volunteer orientation
- Be dependable and patient
- Be a listener, and comfortable in silence
- Know your strengths, your limits and when to say no
- Be non-judgmental
- Accept that needs can be physical, emotional and/or spiritual
- Respect all beliefs, all religious customs and all who lack them
How will I know what to do?
Every volunteer receives free and comprehensive training before being assigned a volunteer job. They learn hospice philosophy, caring for the terminally ill, grief and loss education, health and safety precautions and more. They talk about what kinds of volunteering they are interested in and what talents their volunteer manager sees in them. Volunteers work with a clinical team of a doctor, nurse, aide, chaplain and social worker. Because they spend time with the patient, volunteers who provide direct patient care can often give the team valuable feedback about issues that arise during their visits.
Why do hospices have volunteers?
When hospice care became a Medicare benefit in 1982, written into the law signed by President Ronald Reagan was the requirement that community volunteers had to provide a minimum of 5 percent of total patient care hours. It is one of the things that makes hospice care unique in healthcare. The thinking was that volunteers would provide a kind of caring and a point of view that neither the professional healthcare providers on the team nor the family, who is also part of the hospice team, would offer. Today every Medicare-certified hospice—public or private, secular or faith-based, for-profit or non-profit—trains community volunteers to provide 5 percent of patient care hours.
Types of Volunteers:
- 11th Hour Volunteers
- Help ensure that no patient dies alone by being present at the final stages of a patient’s life.
- Provide support in the office: filing, preparing mailings, computer input, answering the phone, special projects.
- Art/Alternative/Complementary Care
- Provide art and massage therapy.
- Visits, phone calls, support groups, memorial services and send bereavement mailings.
- Direct Patient Care
Visit patients and families at home, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, inpatient hospice units. Pay a friendly visit; relieve a family caregiver for an afternoon out; accompany a patient to the beauty salon, grocery store or a social event; read aloud; listen to memories; walk the dog; be the high point of someone’s day.
Volunteers with a current cosmetology license provide haircuts, shampoos and styling to patients and families.
Volunteers with current massage therapy license provide friendly touch and massage to patients and their families.
Create one-of-a-kind Memory Bears from patients’ clothes to comfort the family.
Singing or playing a musical instrument for patients or during hospice sponsored events.
Taking professional pictures of the patient and family, generally providing a picture CD to the family.
Address spiritual issues at the end of life: meaning, faith, life review, issues related to loss, loneliness, etc.
Meet education requirement for on-the-job experience while providing care to patients and families. Examples: social work, counseling, chaplaincy, nursing, nursing assistants, physician assistants, business schools, massage therapy, community job programs.
Telephone Assurance Program
Make supportive phone calls to patients and their families or to bereaved family members following a death.
Address special end-of-life needs by replacing lost medals, linking veterans to VA benefits, performing life review, visiting on Veteran’s Day, educating veterans organizations, etc.
For more information on how to become a volunteer, contact Susie Smart at 870-698-0505.