What Is Hospice Care?
“Hospice helps people to live the best life they possibly can through their very last day.” - Maria Rivera, Executive Director, Hospice of the Fisher Home.
The term “hospice” has a ton of preconceived notions that go along with it. Some people don’t know what hospice is at all. And, in many people’s minds, it can seem like a cold, scary place. But, that could not be further from the truth!
So what does hospice really mean? Well, hospice is a special kind of care for the terminally ill. It focuses on increasing the quality of life for people who are experiencing a life-limiting illness. Hospice also helps the loved ones of those who are dying through the process! The goal of hospice is not just to help mitigate pain or manage symptoms (although it does that too!). A great hospice, like the Hospice of the Fisher Home, provides compassionate, holistic care for people who are terminally ill so that they may live out their final days fully and in comfort.
The philosophy of hospice is to accept death as the final stage of life. In turn, life is affirmed. But, hospice does not try to speed up or put off death. Hospice care is here to treat a person and the symptoms of their life-limiting illness, rather than the illness itself. In a hospice, a team of professionals work together to manage symptoms so that a person’s last days may be spent with dignity and quality, surrounded by their loved ones. Hospice care is also family-centered – it includes the patient and the family in making decisions.
If you believe in the power of hospice care, consider donating to our capital campaign: Keep Us Rooted.
Who is hospice care for?
Hospice care is for people with advanced, life-limiting illnesses. At the Fisher Home, we provide symptom management for patients with serious illnesses, no matter their age, culture, beliefs, or cause of illness.
It is important to note that a person does not have to be bed-bound or in their final days of life to receive hospice care. In fact, it can be more beneficial for both the patient and their loved ones for care to begin earlier.
When Should Hospice Care Begin?
Someone with a life-limiting illness can begin taking advantage of the benefits of hospice care as long as medical eligibility is met. Hospice care should be considered when:
You no longer wish to receive treatments or be hospitalized
Life expectancy is 6 months or less
You feel you need support with your illness
If there is a significant decline in physical or cognitive health, even with medical treatment.
Treatments are no longer successful in curing or halting a life-threatening illness.
Making the decision to start hospice care can be extremely difficult. But, it is not always final. Hospice is 100% a choice. This means that patients can stop hospice services at any time for any reason. Additionally, patients can come back on to hospice services at any time, so long as they continue to meet hospice eligibility guidelines. If you do not know if you are ready for hospice care and are located in the Western Massachusetts, contact our team.
Where does hospice care take place?
Hospice can happen anywhere. Hospice of the Fisher Home provides two kinds of hospice care.
1. In Your Home - At-home hospice care provides patients with the ability to be in a place where they are comfortable. This includes medical supervision, nursing care, emotional support, and practical help is offered in the comfort of your own space. Our care, in particular, includes regular visits from clinical staff, social workers, and counselors.
Most in-home hospice care programs offer the same things. But, you can find out more about our services here.
2. In Our Home - Hospice in a residential facility, like ours, comes with a ton of benefits too. At Hospice of the Fisher Home we offer a homelike environment where your family members are always welcome.
The benefits of being a facility include having staff on hand at all times. We have a large team of compassionate nurses and volunteers who aim to bring comfort and peace to every moment. Many facilities offer similar benefits. But, you can find out more about our services here.
In either case, the management of medication and medical equipment is often supported by the hospice, as it is with the Fisher Home. Both options for hospice are wonderful and it is up to the dying person to decide what they would like to do.
The Hospice of the Fisher Home is currently undergoing renovations and we are seeking donations or appliance "adoptions" to help keep our facility up-to-date so we can continue to provide amazing care to our patients.
What does hospice offer?
Hospice offers a variety of benefits including symptom control, care coordination, palliative care, home care, and inpatient care. When it comes to the health management of a dying person, hospice offers respite from the pains that they may be going through. Additionally, hospice can provide spiritual care and family support.
Oftentimes, being the primary caregiver for someone at the end of their life can feel overwhelming, supportive hospice care helps families manage so that they have more time to be family members instead of caregivers. After the passing of a loved one, hospice bereavement counselors will follow and care for the family for 13 months. Check out The Four Main Goals of Hospice for more information on this topic.
Hospice of the Fisher Home wants to share the message that hospice is meant to be compassionate and caring. We understand that hospice is a difficult topic and facing the decision of hospice can be hard to navigate. We truly believe in the power of hospice care, so that end-of-life is meaningful.
If you or a loved one are considering hospice care in the Western Massachusetts area, consider reaching out to Hospice of the Fisher Home.