- Hospice facts
- What is hospice care?
- Why is hospice care important?
- What is the history of hospice?
- What are the main goals of hospice care?
- What are some misconceptions about hospice care?
- What kinds of services does hospice care provide?
- Are hospice services available for children?
- Can hospice care be offered at home?
- What are some medical conditions commonly referred to hospice?
- How is referral to hospice made?
- How does hospice care work?
- Who is part of the hospice team?
- What is respite care?
- Who is eligible for hospice care?
- Who pays for hospice care?
- How can people find and choose hospice care?
- What questions should people ask of hospice agencies?
- Where can a person find more information about hospice care?
Who is part of the hospice team?
At the very core of every hospice there are four required components: medical doctors, nurses, social workers, and chaplains.
In addition to these core components, essentially all hospices benefit from involvement of other support staff who make irreplaceable contributions to patient care and are vital to survival of hospice organizations. Contributions of these team members vary between hospices and depend on the plan of care of the patients.
Hospice volunteers are an integral part of the hospice team. They assist patients with meal preparation, running errands, companionship, basic needs around the house, and other projects to help the patient and the family. Certified home health aides are another important part of hospice care. Home aides are usually employed by hospice and help patients and families with personal care such as assistance with bathing, feeding, and other basic needs.
Hospices often utilize other ancillary staff including
- nurse assistants and LVN (licensed vocational nurses),
- dieticians or nutritionists,
- speech, physical, occupational therapists,
- bereavement counselors,
- respiratory therapists,
Less commonly, some hospices may utilize the expertise of acupuncturists, music therapists, massage therapists, psychologists, or art therapists if these services are thought to improve the patient's symptoms or overall quality of life.
Hospice patients are always (24 hours a day, seven days a week) under the care of the hospice medical directors through nurses and other hospice team members.
An essential component of hospice care is the interdisciplinary team (or IDT) meeting which takes place every two weeks. During the IDT, each patient's progress, active issues, and overall plan of care are thoroughly reviewed by the hospice medical directors, nurses, social workers, volunteers, chaplain, and other ancillary staff who are involved in the patient's care.
Because hospice care is centered around the patient as a whole, the recommendations and input from each team member in IDT contribute meaningfully to the overall plan of care.