The Four Main Goals of Hospice
Updated: Oct 19
Death can be a tough subject for many, but it is important to discuss, especially in terms of end of life care. As a hospice, we understand that dying, though it is a natural process, can be full of uncertainties and challenges. It is a hospice’s job to mitigate these so that the terminally-ill and their loved ones can find peace at the end of life.
Each person’s journey through hospice may look different based on their particular physical, emotional, spiritual, and practical needs. Through hospice care, each of these can be carefully met.
Recognizing the hurdles that may need to be overcome in a hospice setting helps caregivers develop the correct plan. These plans revolve around the four main goals of hospice care.
What is Hospice?
Hospice care focuses on the quality of life for those who are terminally-ill, providing essential comfort and support during the final months, weeks, and days of someone’s life. Hospice also provides assistance to the loved ones of those entering end of life care.
The purpose of hospice is not to hasten or postpone death, but to affirm life, treat symptoms, and provide quality of life.
It is challenging to talk about end of life issues, but the Hospice of the Fisher Home is here to lend support. To learn more about us, click here.
Treatment Before Hospice
Before determining whether or not someone should go into hospice care, healthcare providers will typically try all other options. The goals of these healthcare professionals are very different from the four goals of hospice. For example, hospice aims to increase quality of life by treating symptoms of a disease instead of the disease itself. Before hospice, doctors will try to reach goals such as:
Curing a disease
Avoiding premature death
Maintenance of function
However, sometimes palliative or hospice care ends up being the best option. Determining that someone is at the end of life includes a variety of factors. A healthcare professional or the medical director of a hospice may look at a person’s wishes, values, conditions, and prognosis.
These decisions are incredibly challenging to make. But, the right healthcare team will provide compassionate care through every stage of the process.
The Four Main Goals of Hospice
Once it is decided that a person is entering hospice care, the four main goals are put into motion to help provide them with the best end of life possible. Each of these four main goals of hospice serves a different purpose that encompass the overall well-being of the person.
1. Practical Care
Practical care can come in a variety of ways. Its main purpose is to help the dying person or their primary caregiver with the tasks that come with end of life care. These can include daily living tasks like:
Doing laundry and other chores
While these seem like simple things, they can become overwhelming when one is nearing the end of their life. The aim of hospice is to take this on, so no one becomes overwhelmed.
Practical care is an essential part of hospice that relieves end of life patients from the worries of their everyday tasks. Additionally, it relieves primary caregivers from stresses of taking care of their loved one. We want to make sure that you can focus on what truly matters during this time.
2. Physical Comfort
Managing symptoms and providing physical comfort is one of the main goals of hospice care. With a compassionate healthcare team, like the one at the Hospice of the Fisher Home, patients can be as comfortable as possible.
During the process, someone who is dying may feel a range of physical symptoms that stem from their terminal illness or other sources. While in hospice care, there are many ways that symptoms can be mitigated by healthcare professionals and loved ones.
First, identifying causes of pain is a must. After figuring out the cause interventions can be put in place to bring as much comfort and quality as possible during end-of-life care. Interventions might include:
Physical comfort is a main goal of hospice care because it is integral to ensuring a quality end-of-life.
3. Mental and Emotional Support
End-of-life is not only taxing on your body, but your mental and emotional wellbeing. That is why mental and emotional support is one of the main goals of hospice care.
During this time, both the person dying and their loved ones, may go through a variety of different emotions, such as:
And much more.
These emotions, even in times of perfect health, can be difficult to navigate. That is why it is crucial for hospice professionals to know how to be compassionate and caring while providing emotional support. During this difficult time, everyone deserves love and support.
Many care teams have a variety of resources to fulfill this need for both the dying person and their loved ones. These resources can come in the form of counseling, spiritual advising, or simply providing a listening ear. Other ways to provide mental and emotional support include:
Playing comforting music, or music therapy
Setting a comforting mood
Bringing in things that the person loves, like food or a pet.
Mental and emotional support is always necessary, but even more so for those in hospice care. The right care team has a keen understanding of this and will always work to provide compassionate, supportive care.
4. Spiritual Care
Spiritual care can be thought of as emotional and mental support. But, it really is its own main goal as it plays an integral part in the support of those in hospice care.
Those who are nearing the end of their life typically grapple with big questions about meaning, life after death, and other similar topics. For a loved one, it can be difficult to navigate these conversations. Hospice aims to provide resources so that these questions can be discussed with someone who is caring and knowledgeable.
Many hospice patients find themselves leaning on religion and spirituality to answer these deep questions. With the help of spiritual advisors, the care team can help meet end-of-life wishes and spiritual needs. These advisors can include religious figures, pastors, or counselors.
In addition to working with patients, these amazing individuals can work with loved ones to help them through the bereavement process. Through Spiritual support, hospice can help bring the necessary comfort and meaning at the end of life.
The four main goals of hospice were created so that caregivers can provide the best possible care to those who are dying. Practical care, physical comfort, mental and emotional support, and spiritual care are all incredibly important parts of a well-rounded approach to hospice.
Hospice of the Fisher Home works hard to make sure that all of these needs are exceeded. We understand that this time can be difficult as families and individuals face complexities that are new and hard to navigate. But, we believe in the power of hospice care. We know that death can be filled with comfort, support, and compassion so that end-of-life is peaceful and meaningful.