“You matter because of who you are. You matter to the last moment of your life, and we will do all we can, not only to help you die peacefully, but also to live until you die.”
— Dame Cicely Saunders
Hospice is a concept of caring for the terminally ill that dates back to the 1960’s. The founder of modern hospice, Dr. Cecily Saunders, introduced the concept of caring for a patient’s physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs.
With a philosophy of compassion and dignity, hospice utilizes a team of healthcare professionals and volunteers who provide ongoing support for both the family and the patient.
Focusing on improving the quality of life and not a cure, hospice attempts to ease the emotional, spiritual and physical pain often associated with a terminal illness.
By recognizing dying as a part of life, hospice will support the patient and family in maintaining control of end-of-life choices and through the bereavement period.
Patients will remain in the familiar, comforting surroundings of home.
When to choose hospice?
The decision to stop curative treatment and choose hospice is never easy. There are barriers that need to be surmounted because of the negative image that some people hold regarding hospice. Even doctors have difficulty with this decision since they must acknowledge the same realities you do. Therefore, it often comes down to the patient and family to make the decision and initiate hard coversations about end-of-life care.
Here are some basic guidlines to help you decide
When curative treatment no longer makes sense. Often working on extending life through treatment causes people to die earlier than providing comfort measures. This is because of the many painful side effects of curative treatment.
When the emphasis of treatment changes to comfort, symptom control and enhancing quality of life.
Hospice care is for patients who have terminal illness which is anticipated to result in a life expectancy of six months or less
Hospice patients who are enrolled in Medicare will find that their hospice care is fully covered by the Medicare Hospice Benefit. The Massachusetts Medicaid Hospice Benefit and most private insurance plans also cover hospice care. Hospice care is a mandated benefit for all insurance companies in Massachusetts, but if you or your loved one does not have insurance a sliding scale or free care is also an option. We will never turn anyone away for an inability to pay.
In meeting the needs of the patient and family, the team is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Our hospice team has been specially trained in hospice care and philosophy.
Physician: participates in developing the plan of care and oversees the medical regimen
Nurseing: provides individual care focusing on comfort.
Social Worker: assists with psycho-social and emotional needs.
Chaplain: provides counseling and spiritual guidance
Home Health Aide: provides personal care and assistance
Volunteers and Companions: provide support and companionship
Bereavement Coordinator: provides support and counseling for the surviving loved ones for 13 months following death