understanding hospice
understanding hospice

We, at Keystone, believe that the fundamental goals of hospice care are to bring comfort and promote the dignity of terminally ill people while alleviating physical, emotional and spiritual suffering. Hospice care neither extends nor hastens the dying process. Instead, hospice focuses on soothing, calming and relief; it is not curative. Hospice or end-of-life care improves the overall quality of life for you or your loved one when faced with life-limiting illness.

Where does hospice take place?

Hospice care isn’t a specific place, instead it is more of method of care, or philosophy. Hospice care can be provided in any place you call home: a nursing home, foster homes, assisted living, or the home you’ve lived in your entire life. Regardless of where service is provided, Keystone focuses on pain and symptom management.

What types treatments should I expect with hospice?

Because hospice is a holistic approach to care our treatments focus on the whole person, not just the disease. This method allows our hospice team to not only focus on your needs as you face life-limiting illness, but your family’s needs as well. Our hospice team addresses your practical concerns—for example assistance with bathing, benefits eligibility, transportation—and attends to emotional and spiritual needs, for you and your family. Our team, which includes the physician, nurse, social worker, chaplain, pharmacist, nursing assistant, nutritionist, physical therapist and volunteers, provides this holistic care. Keystone rounds out it whole person approach by offering a number of complementary and alternative hospice therapies to meet both the physical and emotional needs of all our patients and families.

Is hospice the same thing as palliative care?

Although there is a difference between palliative care and hospice care, both alleviate suffering and enhance the quality of life for you or your loved one. Typically, hospice is provided only during the final few months of a person’s life. Palliative care may be received earlier on to accommodate those with a life-limiting illness. Many times palliative care is offered to manage symptoms or relieve pain and to assist with dealing with the daily impact on life and family members.

What’s the difference between hospice and home health nursing?

There are two differences between hospice care and home health nursing…

First, any patient with a need for skilled medical care is eligible to receive home health nursing. Various reasons such as recuperating from surgery or if intravenous medications are required for an infection from which a full recovery is expected. On the other hand, those receiving hospice care are diagnosed with a life-limiting illness—generally with six months or less life expectancy —with the primary treatment guided toward holistic care and pain management, not recovery.

Second, nurses are the primary medical care to those receiving homebound nursing care (in some situations additional services are ordered such as occupational or physical therapy). Those receiving Keystone hospice care benefit from receiving the services of an entire interdisciplinary team specialized in holistic end-of-life care.

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