Hospice care is an excellent end-of-life care option. It simultaneously provides comfort both to the hospice patients and to their loved ones.
When the patient, family members, and care teams start creating an end-of-life care plan, their main concern is the comfort and dignity of the patient.
As a care provider, your top priority is delivering the best quality of care for every single patient. You can do this by making sure everyone on your team is aware of—and sincerely believes in—your care plan, and that you have processes in place that make things go as smoothly as possible for all.
What is the primary purpose of hospice care?
What is hospice care? This kind of care focuses on the quality of a patient’s life when they’re reaching the end of their life. The objectives for most other care teams are to treat a disease or reduce the effects of a chronic illness. In this case, that’s not the focus. It’s the goal of the care team to treat the symptoms of the disease in order to make the end-of-life experience as comfortable, dignified, and pain-free as possible.
Patients typically enter hospice when they have less than six months to live. The care provided addresses their physical, psychological, spiritual, and social needs. It also provides comfort and support services to the patient’s loved ones during such a difficult time.
Why is hospice care important?
No one likes the feeling of being out of control, especially when it comes to their health. This specialized care helps hospice patients feel like they can regain a level of control in their life, rather than the disease having full control of them.
During hospice care, patients may experience extreme pain, fatigue, and many other symptoms. Under your team’s care, the goal is to manage the patient’s symptoms so they can live out the rest of their days in as peaceful an existence as possible. Hospice benefits the family and friends, too, as it’s comforting for them to see their loved one no longer struggle so much with the ill effects of certain treatments.
Additionally, family caregivers are provided with the education they need to help care for the hospice patient. They receive training by the hospice care team on how to properly bathe, feed, and administer medications to the patient.
How to care for hospice patients
Caring for someone during their remaining days is a noble task and at times may be difficult. Here are a couple of ways to make sure hospice patients get the care they need—while ensuring your team doesn’t have to deal with unnecessary tasks so they can focus wholeheartedly on these important duties.
Remember the patient’s needs come first
Once again, the main focus of hospice care is comfort, and thus pain management is key. Providing the proper type and dosage of pain medication will provide them with a measure of grace and respectability.
Besides pain, hospice patients might also struggle with digestive issues, breathing problems, or skin irritation. Care teams learn to recognize when doctors need to be notified during care.
Address mental and emotional needs
Someone who is nearing the end of their life may understandably have concerns or feel sad or even fearful. It’s the care team’s responsibility to be there for them emotionally and not just physically. Do what you can to assuage these fears, even if it’s just sitting with them and holding their hand.
Having friends and family around can either be a great source of comfort, or it can be overwhelming. Ask the patient if they prefer being surrounded by a large group of friends, or if they’d rather see one to two people at a time. Extroverts can feel cut off and more depressed if they don’t get the chance to be around a lot of people—while introverts can be easily overwhelmed by even a few people, and actually experience increased anxiety because of it.
Don’t forget about spiritual needs
At the end of their life, many people reflect on their spirituality. It may be comforting to invite a priest, rabbi, elder, or minister of their choice to pray with them and read scriptures or other holy writings. Listening to religious music can also lift the hospice patient’s spirits.
How Welkin helps you deliver top quality care for hospice patients
Besides providing your hospice care team with the best training they’ll need in order to provide exceptional care, you can give them the most cutting-edge tools, too.
Welkin’s Care Management software helps your team enhance the quality of life and dignity of hospice patients. Our technology ensures that your entire team is on the same page at all times and that the lines of communication are always open.
When providing hospice care, you may have to travel to areas where there’s no internet connection. That will not be an issue since Welkin software can be run offline. You can be confident that you will have all your patient notes at your fingertips, whether you have a reliable Wi-Fi signal or not.
Another benefit of this software is that it allows you to create an individualized care plan for each patient with the input of the patient, themselves, and their loved ones. You’ll be able to build a plan that addresses the needs of both the patient and their primary caretaker.
The goal of the care your team provides is to keep patients comfortable in every way as their life nears its end. Utilizing this innovative Patient Care Management software will keep everything organized so that the patient—not wrestling with your systems—is at the center of your attention.
An important part of caring for hospice patients is creating an amazing patient experience. Download our FREE eBook with tips that will help you improve the experience of every patient.